Tampa Bay Lightning Playoff Preview: Will They Make it to the Stanley Cup Again?
Last year’s Stanley Cup featured the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning. In this Tampa Bay Lightning Playoff Preview, we see if this team can make it to the biggest stage yet again.
The team won their first Stanley Cup in 2004, defeating the Calgary Flames in a 7-game thriller. When they returned around a decade later to face the Blackhawks, they were hoping to win that second title.
The first two games of the series were split between the two teams, with Chicago winning 2-1 and then the Lightning winning 4-3. In Game 3 of the series, the Lightning took their second consecutive victory to take a 2-1 lead on the series. However, that lead wouldn’t hold for too long. The Blackhawks were determined to take it back, as they won the next two games, taking a 3-2 series lead.
In a desperate last push to bring a Game 7, the Lightning came up short in Game 6. They ended up losing a close game, being outscored 2-0.
Matchup Against the Wings
Much like last year’s playoffs, the Lightning will have to get past the Detroit Red Wings. The two battled it out last year in a series that went all seven games. In what was argued as the toughest series of their playoff run, the Lightning are prepared to see the Wings come out with a chip on their shoulder.
It looks like the major factors for the Lightning are going to be whether or not their offense plays at the level it did all season, as well as if their goaltender can continue his stellar play.
The Lightning have three major players on offense. Steven Stamkos, the team’s scoring leader, netted a total of 36 goals this season. Victor Hedman, the team’s assist leader, totaled 37 assists this season. Hedman also led the team in the +/- category, with 21. Lastly, Nikita Kucherov, the team’s points leader, totaled 66 points on the season with 30 goals and 36 assists.
If these three guys can continue their offensive attack, it would take a lot of pressure off their goalie.
Bishop was one of the main reasons the Lightning made it to the Stanley Cup last year and was also a big part in their series win over the Red Wings last playoffs. He is a strong candidate for the Vezina Trophy, which is handed out to the top goalie of the season.
If Bishop can bring his A-game and give his team the necessary saves they need to win, this team can be very dangerous.