The Tampa Bay Lightning started the New Year with seven losses (0-6-1), but all of a sudden, the Bolts are starting to look dangerous again. Steven Stamkos cashed in on a nice Martin St. Louis setup to beat the Washington Capitals 4-3 in overtime for the Lightning’s fifth consecutive win.
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Assessing the future
Naturally, this recent run begs the question: can the Lightning actually get back into the playoff hunt? The Lightning are currently in 11th place with 48 points in 49 games. Take a look at the standings to get a better idea of the exact specifics of the playoff picture, but they’re most likely to find for one of the East’s bottom two playoff spots:
The good news is that the New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t untouchables by any means. The bad news is that the Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets should be very much in the mix as the stretch run goes along, especially if those two Southeast Division rivals get healthier going forward.
Opportunities via schedule
The Lightning have a solidly advantageous schedule, with 19 of their 33 remaining contests at home. February features eight games at the St. Pete Times Forum to five on the road, but it’s March that could really open things up with a seven-game homestand from March 10-24.
Will a promising schedule and a recent rush of momentum help them claim one of the bottom spots in the East (or if the Ottawa Senators stumble, maybe one of the final three)? The odds are still stacked against Tampa Bay, but let us know what you think of the Bolts’ chances.
You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.
We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.
“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.
These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.
Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.
It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.
With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.
It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:
It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).
As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.
Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:
This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.
Update: All that’s been announced about Silfverberg is that he’s under evaluation and will not return.