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Direct Current 13: Checking In on the 2018/2019 Bolts

Tampa Bay Lightning Progress November 2018

Here in Tampa Bay, we’ve got quite a bevy of sports to gather round and celebrate. While the Buccaneers may not be doing so great (at 3-7 following a narrow loss to the Giants over the weekend), the Bolts are always something for us to be excited about. Having nearly made it to the Stanley Cup Finals last year, the team electrified the division, conference and league last season, suffering only a few dips in form.

This year, the NHL has been unkind to teams who perform well. Teams like the Washington Capitals, who won the Stanley Cup last year are now in the middle of their division and trailing the leaders by 5 points. Other recent victors like the L.A. Kings and Chicago Blackhawks are at the bottom of the Pacific Division and second to bottom in the Central, respectively.

Good News for the Tampa Bay Lightning at 20 Games

Luckily, this inversion seems to be having a much less apparent effect on the sturdy Lightning who, at the time of this article’s publication, sit atop the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference with 29 points from 20 games (tied with Nashville for most in the league), 14 wins (tied with Nashville and Toronto for most in the league) and 74 goals (first in the league).

>>> Read More: Where to Watch the Tampa Bay Lightning in Pasco County <<<

Bad News for the Tampa Bay Lightning at 20 Games

On the negative side, the Lightning have not been able to capitalize on the insane number of goals they’ve scored because of the considerable number of goals scored against them. While potential Stanley Cup challengers like the Predators and Wild respectively have 47 and 57 goals against, Tampa Bay has 58. The goal difference of +16 isn’t horrible, but it could be stronger.

Remember, last season the goal difference was one of the biggest indicators that the Bolts were in for an incredible post-season run.

>>> Read More: Tampa Bay Lightning 2017/2018 Regular Season Review <<<

More unwelcome news: Vasilevskiy is hurt and appears to be out for a while with a foot fracture. While the Bolts proved they can win without him this weekend against Philly, they may be losing the crucial ingredient to a season of a league-topping goal difference.

closeup of amalie arena jumbotron

Friendly Predictions for the Tampa Bay Lightning 2018/2019 Season

Despite losing Vasilevskiy for the time being, we think the extended run of last season is contributing to the less-than-stellar goal difference. With good rotation, we expect the defense to strengthen and hit the levels it did last season when the Lightning led the league on points, goal difference, wins and goals.

We predict the 2018/2019 Tampa Bay Lightning will:

  • …finish first in the Atlantic Division with 115 points and 55 wins
  • …end the season with a goal difference of 58
  • …score 300 goals
  • …make it to the Stanley Cup Finals where they will beat the late-surging San Jose Sharks to win the Cup in 6 games.

What do you think?

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