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Direct Current 8: It’s a Clinch!

Tampa Bay Lightning News March 2018

The Tampa Bay Lightning have clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs! As expected winners of the Atlantic Division, we can all celebrate what will almost certainly be one of the most successful seasons in the club’s fairly-young history. Will it be as successful as 2003/04 was? We hope so, and the team certainly looks up for it.

In today’s issue of Direct Current, we’re going to be looking at some news stories and observations we’ve seen relating to the Lightning’s current form. As we glide into the final games of the year, it will be important for the team to recognize and correct any areas of weakness which could be exploited by other teams in the playoffs. After all, there are no throwaway games in the playoffs.

At the time of this article’s publication, the Lightning lead the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference for points. In the league, they are tied with Nashville (who have a game in hand) for points with more wins than any other team at 51.

The Lightning’s goal difference of 60 is also the highest in the league.

Divisional rivals Boston have two games in hand on the Bolts and are 6 points behind on a 2-game losing streak. They have also clinched a playoff spot, although their form should concern the Bruins’ players, coaching staff and fans. It’s a marvelous time to be a Bolts fan!

1. Bolts Set Franchise Record at 51 Wins!

Lightning’s game last night against the New York Islanders was a frenzy of shots resulting in 13 shots and a narrow 7-6 victory for the Bolts. With 8 games in the season to go, however, it delivered the monumental 51st victory of the season, setting a Tampa Bay Lightning record.

 

We doubt that record is going to stay at only 51 with 8 games left and a powerful streak. In an earlier post, we lamented the loss of some of the early-season momentum the Bolts had…safe to say it’s back.

[READ MORE: January 2018 – Could Dip in Form Spell Trouble for Mojo-Less Bolts?]

2. Vasilevskiy Declares Greater Ambitions than Record

During a team record-setting game like last night’s, it’s easy and common for players to get carried away with their celebratory tone. What’s not as common is a player to dismiss an individual record that accompanies this team one.

[READ MORE: 7 Greatest Moments in Bolts’ History]

In addition to the Bolts’ record-setting victory, young goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy also set a Tampa Bay Lightning franchise victory for 41 games won under his staunch and unflinching guard. When asked how he felt regarding this individual record, he had this to say (language warning):

 

(Should the tweet fail to load, it says Love this from Andrei Vasilevskiy on #TBLightning franchise record 41st victory, breaking tie he had with Ben Bishop. “It’s not my goal to set the record, to be honest all of that is bullsh*t. Our goal is the Stanley Cup, so we’ll see in the playoffs”#EyeonthePrize)

3. Defensive Frailties Prevent Excessive Celebration Over Record-Breaking Game

Another reason that Vasilevskiy may have not been as inclined to join in the gala surrounding a record-setting game at both individual and team level is because the team didn’t look great. The New York Islanders are currently sitting in the bottom of the Metropolitan Division and were able to fire off 41 shots against Vasilevskiy, a goalie who many had doubts about playing due to fears over fatigue.

 

This time at the end of the season is always a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s the time when the team is the most energized for the playoffs. On the other, it’s the time of the season where everybody is the most tired from fighting so hard to stay on top of the division, conference and league as the Tampa Bay Lightning have.

We have no doubts that the defensive errors which led to the Islanders putting 6 in the net from 41 chances have been addressed by Cooper in private, but it leaves a little bit of room for worry over the remaining games and the playoffs.

As eternal optimists, we have hope that the Lightning will patch up the holes in their game and soar into the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs and beyond with the spirit that carried them into their current league position.

We’re Bringing It Home!

Here at Friendly Kia, we’re massive sports fans. We love the Lightning, Rays, Rowdies and if an NFL team ever moves into the Tampa Bay, we’ll be on board with them also (we’re not crying, we just got done cutting onions is all…)

The Direct Current section on our blog is updated monthly or bi-weekly with current events, takes we enjoyed from social media and even historical retrospectives. If you think we’ve missed anything major about the Lightning, have questions about Tampa Bay or would like to share Lightning tickets with us, be sure to reach out to us today using the link below!

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