Tampa Bay Lightning Quietly Becoming True Contenders

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a dreadful 0-4 West Coast trip and losing some important ground in the Atlantic Division Standings, the Tampa Bay Lightning showed no signs of slowing down, going 2-1 in a tough and vital homestand. In victories over both the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers, the Lightning scored nine goals and allowed just two. Goaltenders Ben Bishop and Anders Lindback were both stellar in their respective starts.

Although the final game of the homestand was one to forget (a 3-0 shutout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins), the Lightning have truly proven that winning games without superstar Steven Stamkos is not an impossible feat. The Lightning continue to quietly climb the Atlantic Division Standings and now sit at 16-9-1 on the season, good for second place.

An argument can be made that the Lightning are the least recognized and most improved team in the league so far this season. Even more impressive for Tampa Bay is how the team continues to overcome adversity and injuries. Losing valuable players to injury in Ryan Malone, Tom Pyatt, Steven Stamkos and Radko Gudas has not been easy for the Lightning, but the team finds ways to win without them.

Head coach Jon Cooper has the Lightning competing at the highest level and has played a very large role in this team’s turnaround so far this season. As the Lightning continue to climb the standings, it will be vital for the team to keep winning games on home ice and remain competitive with elite teams throughout the Division and Eastern Conference.

Connor Akeman is a Tampa Bay Lightning and NHL writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and join his Google network.

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