With the NHL playoff race getting down to the wire, we’ll be providing regular updates on each bubble team’s postseason push.
Bubble team: Tampa Bay Lightning
Where they stand: 10th in the East, four points back of eighth-place Winnipeg.
Games remaining: 17
SportsClubStats.com says: 19.8% chance of making the playoffs
Why they’ll get in:
Steven Stamkos. The NHL’s top sniper has 10 goals in his last nine games, a stretch that’s seen the Lightning go 7-2-0. Tampa Bay plays eight of its next nine at home, where it boasts an impressive 20-9-2 record.
Why they won’t:
Goaltending. Mathieu Garon has been giving his team a chance to win, but he’s not exactly stealing games out there. And since Dwayne Roloson can’t be trusted, it’s pretty much all on Garon, a 34-year-old journeyman on his sixth NHL team.
“Look at Abraham Lincoln. How did this guy get to be one of the most important presidents? If you look at everything that happened to him, a thousand times he could have quit and done something else or quit after failing.”– coach Guy Boucher, drawing inspiration from the 16th President of the United States. (Which you won’t hear every day in the NHL.)
Biggest game coming up:
Thursday in Washington versus the ninth-place Capitals.