The Tampa Bay Lightning are coming off their first pointless game since March 6, losing 3-2 to the Detroit Red Wings Sunday evening. It doesn’t matter much though, as they begin a season high-tying six game homestand Tuesday night against the always tough Montreal Canadiens.
A win over Montreal, coupled with a regulation loss by the Washington Capitals and any type of loss by the New Jersey Devils, will send the Lightning to the postseason for the first time since 2011. Quite an accomplishment for a team many expected to fall off the map completely when Steven Stamkos broke his leg back in early November, an injury that cost him four months.
If that wasn’t enough, former captain Martin St. Louis decided to demand a trade in temper tantrum fashion because Lightning and Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman left him off the original Canadian Olympic roster. He ended up getting added late, replacing Stamkos and bringing home a gold medal, but the damage had been done. To the dismay of many in Tampa Bay, a team icon since 2000 deserted his team in the midst of a playoff push to join the New York Rangers.
Luckily the Rangers shipped Ryan Callahan and two draft picks to Tampa Bay in that trade, something not many expected to work out the way it has up to this point. Cally’s willingness to go into the dirty areas have bought the Lightning points and wins they might not have otherwise gotten. A big help in their drive towards securing their first postseason berth in two years.
Will the Lightning clinch tonight, or have to wait a little longer? Though unknown, a team that’s endured obstacle after obstacle so far this season is close to accomplishing one of their biggest goals.
Now that’s something worth celebrating, Bolts fans!