Riding a four-game win streak with just one game remaining, there’s no doubt the Tampa Bay Lightning wanted to keep on rolling into the NHL‘s brief holiday break. That they did, scoring six goals during the final 40 minutes of what ended up being a Governors Cup-clinching 6-1 rout over the Florida Panthers Monday night.
Martin St. Louis led the way, notching a goal and two assists. With those points, he surpassed Chris Chelios for 90th on the league’s all-time point list. Simply remarkable for a player who went undrafted straight out of college, got cut from his first team, yet still is proving doubters wrong many years later.
Ben Bishop, meanwhile, continues making a strong case for why he should be a part of the U.S. Olympic team. His 20 wins rank second, behind only Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury, while the .935 save percentage and 1.93 GAA he currently boasts places him among the league’s top five goaltenders so far this season.
In this season of giving, the Lightning haven’t disappointed. They’ve found multiple ways to not only compete but win, despite missing a good chunk of key veterans due to injury. For those who said a team full of rookies and AHL call ups couldn’t possibly be legitimate playoff contenders, I urge you to rethink things because these guys don’t look like they’re going away anytime soon.
Can the Lightning continue to surpass expectations, thus making 2014 an extremely happy year? While unknown, there’s no reason anyone should think otherwise. Just look at their 49 points in 37 games as proof.