4-28-14: Ben Bishop’s elbow injury proved to be disaster for Tampa Bay who was swept out of the playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens. After having an incredible regular season, Tampa looked like a team that had 10 rookies in their playoff lineup. The future is bright in Tampa and they should take this experience as a stepping stone towards the future. Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat are both finalists for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie.
4-21-14: Go home Tampa. You’re done. Down 0-3 in the series to Montreal, the Lightning are all but finished. The injury to starting goaltender Ben Bishop has proven to be costly for Jon Cooper’s squad. Backup Anders Lindback has been terrible. AHLer Kristers Gudelveskis has been outmatched. Heck, the whole team has looked off. Steven Stamkos did score twice in game one, but other than that he’s been non-existent. The Bolts need a miracle to stay alive.
4-14-14: The Lightning closed out the 2013-14 campaign with four straight wins, which was enough to put them one point ahead of Montreal and guarantee them home ice in the first round of the playoffs against the Habs. Nate MacKinnon is getting most of the rookie-of-the-year consideration, but Ondrej Palat's season is worthy of notice. The former 2011 seventh-round draft pick finished second in rookie scoring with 59 points. He led all first-year players with a plus-32 rating.
4-7-14: Tampa has lost three out of their last four games, but has three of their final four games at home this upcoming week. It would take a lot to pass the Canadiens to finish second in the Atlantic, but it could happen. Right now, Tampa is locked in to play Montreal in the first-round with the Canadiens having home ice. That’s an intriguing matchup that Tampa surely can win. With Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan up front, and Ben Bishop in net, the Lightning are dangerous.
The Lightning have been playing good hockey as of late. They are 8-0-3 in their last eleven games. The star power of Tampa has shown up. Ryan Callahan has five goals and 12 points since being traded for Martin St. Louis. Steven Stamkos has 23 goals and 36 points in only 29 games this season. The real star, however, is Ben Bishop. Bishop is 36-11-7 with a .927 save percentage and a 2.17 GAA.
3-25-14: The Lightning had their five game winning streak snapped this past Saturday in a 4-3 overtime road loss to the Penguins. Since Steven Stamkos returned from his broken leg, the Lightning are 5-1-3. Tampa currently sits second in the Atlantic Division one point up on Montreal. If the playoffs were to begin today, the Lightning would have home ice in a matchup versus the Canadiens. They are a team to watch in the playoffs that could do damage.
3-17-14: Steven Stamkos is finally starting to look more comfortable as he tallied his first two points this past week since returning from a broken leg. With no Marty St. Louis, the Lightning are going to depend on him going forward. The question is does he have enough to carry the team going forward? The addition of Ryan Callahan is nice, but he’s no St. Louis when it comes to scoring goals. Tampa is a good team, not great.
3-10-14: In my opinion, Tampa got away with robbery when they traded 38-year-old Martin St. Louis for Ryan Callahan and what could turn into two first round picks. Callahan alone doesn't make the Lightning better, but Steven Stamkos is back? The Lightning are trending up and could be a dangerous team in the playoffs. Head coach Jon Cooper should get consideration for the Jack Adams trophy as the NHL’s top coach.
3-3-14: The Lightning went 1-2 out of the break in three road games against Western Conference teams this past week. They went 2-4-0 in their final six games before the break and could use Steven Stamkos in the worst way. He’s aiming at a return to the lineup this week. Tampa is slipping a bit, but they’re two points back of the Canadiens for second place in the Atlantic. In 11 shorthanded situations since returning from the break, the Lightning allowed four power-play goals.
2-10-14: After playing so well for so long without Steven Stamkos, Tampa has finally had a hiccup. They are 2-4-0 in their past six games and the Olympic break couldn’t have come at a better time. Marty St. Louis was chosen as Steve Stamkos’ replacement of Team Canada for the Olympics and it was a good choice, although, some will argue for Claude Giroux. Tampa must play well from here on out to secure a playoff spot in the Atlantic.
2-3-14: The Lightning have won four of their last six contests and out-shot the opposition 80-54 in the two defeats. Tampa has to be happy with where they find themselves. They are now only four points back of Boston for the Atlantic Division crown, and team captain Steven Stamkos is practicing once again. Look for Tampa Bay to add another piece at the trade deadline and make a hard push for the Stanley Cup this season.
1-27-14: Tampa is playing awesome as of late, having won three straight and four of their last six. They have scored 14 goals during their three-game winning streak. The return of Steven Stamkos is not too far off, and the Lightning have done more than just survive without him. They are pushing the Boston Bruins for first place in the Atlantic and will likely push harder once Stamkos is back. The Lightning have gone 19-11-5 in the absence of Stamkos.
1-20-14: Tampa Bay has been playing .500 hockey of late, winning five of its last 10 games played.
Tampa’s win this past Sunday moved them into a tie with Boston for first in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins have two games in hand and the tiebreaker of regulation/overtime wins. Martin St. Louis has played eight games since he wasn't named to the Canadian Olympic team and has been on absolute fire. He has points in every one of those games and has recorded eight goals and 12 points total over that span.
1-13-14: Tampa has won four of their last six games and has been quite successful despite losing Steven Stamkos to a broken leg on Nov. 11. They are 15-9-4 without Stamkos. They sit two points back of Boston for first in the Atlantic Division and have a real chance to overcome the deficit when Stamkos potentially returns before the Olympics. Surviving without Ben Bishop could be a whole other problem though. Anders Lindback is 2-2 in Bishop's absence due to a hand injury, but has a .866 save percentage in those games.
1-7-14: Tampa Bay has done a nice job holding together without Steven Stamkos but has been only .500 of late, with a 2-2-1 record. Tampa sits second in the Atlantic Division, four points back of Boston for the top spot and only one ahead of third-place Montreal. Jean-Philippe Cote played his first game of the season back on December 19 and now has eight under his belt as a member of the Lightning. It's interesting because the 31-year-old hasn't seen the NHL since 2005-06, when he went pointless in eight games for Montreal.
12-30-13: The Lightning went 1-1-1 over the past seven days and are 7-3-3 in December. Tampa Bay has done more than tread water with Steven Stamkos recovering. Thanks to a streak of five straight wins in the second half of the month, Boston and Pittsburgh are the only Eastern Conference teams with more points at the start of the week. Ben Bishop maybe snubbed from USA's Winter Olympics team. He has a .945 save percentage in December, allowing just 14 goals on 254 shots.
12-23-13: How this team continues to win without Steven Stamkos blows my mind. Tampa Bay is currently riding a four-game winning streak and has won five of its last. The Lightning's resurgence this year is one of the league's most overlooked stories. One year ago only two teams in the NHL were worse and today only two teams stand between Tampa Bay and first in the East. Jon Cooper should get some serious consideration for the Jack Adams award as the NHL’s top coach.
12-16-13: The Lightning has been somehow surviving since Steven Stamkos went down a broken leg last month. Tampa went 2-1-1 this past week and ended it with a 3-0 loss in New Jersey on Saturday and a 3-0 win in Detroit on Sunday. Tampa gets to face four non playoff teams in the next seven games and they should look at it as an opportunity to create some separation in the standings. Stamkos is superhuman as it took only 33 days for him to go from broken leg in Boston to skating in New Jersey.
12-9-13: Tampa Bay struggled last week picking up only three points. They lost to the Blue Jackets in regulation and lost to Winnipeg in a shootout. Their lone victory was over the Senators. Steven Stamkos last played in a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Bruins on November 11. In the 12 contests since that point, Tampa Bay has gone 5-5-2, which is enough to keep the team in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
12-2-13: Tampa retuned to the Tampa Bay Times Forum this past week, where they won two games over the Rangers and Flyers, before dropping a third to Pittsburgh. No one can replace Steven Stamkos but one player has played better since the injury to Stamkos. Tyler Johnson has six points and a plus-three rating in nine games since Stamkos got hurt. If Tampa can somehow tread water, like they’re doing now, there is a chance Stamkos could return for the playoffs.
11-25-13: Tampa has cooled off as of late after their torrid start to the season. The Lightning are 5-4-1 in their last ten games played. Like the Devils, Tampa played all three California teams this past week, but the Lightning didn’t fair to well. They lost all three games they played, and got outscored 10-3 in the process. The injury to Steven Stamkos is starting to take its toll as the Lightning have been struggling to generate any offense since Stamkos went down two weeks back.
11-18-13: The Lightning won two out of four games last week week despite a broken tibia injury to superstar forward Steven Stamkos. Tampa still has the best record in the Eastern Conference and the eighth best record in the entire league. Stamkos has 14 goals in 17 games with 23 points and a plus-11 rating. He leads the Lightning in all offesive categories and still sits only three points behind Alex Steen for the NHL scoring lead. His loss is huge for Tampa.
11-12-13: With wins over the Oilers and Red Wings, Tampa now has the best record in the Eastern Conference. Ben Bishop had a great week turning aside 25 of 27 shots he saw in an overtime victory over the Red Wings and he stopped 38 shots of 40 versus Edmonton. Bishop could be an option for Team USA in Sochi. After a slow start, Steven Stamkos is tied for first in the NHL with 23 points and 14 goals. However, he sustained a scary leg injury Monday afternoon in Boston and looks like he’ll miss significant time.
11-5-13: Tampa won two of three games this past week with a win over the Blues. Marty St. Louis and Steven Stamkos continue to do their things. However, 24-year old Alex Killorn has been a pleasant surprise. Killorn has 12 points in his first 14 games and had five points last week in Tampa’s two wins. Tampa quietly has won seven of their last nine games and are tied for the second best record in the Eastern Conference.
10-29-13: Quietly, the Tampa Bay Lightning have the top record in all of the Eastern Conference. They had an overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks and beat the lowly Sabres. Through eight games this season, Ben Bishop has a 7-1-0 record and decent .914 save percentage. I think Tampa finally has their goaltender they’ve been desperately wanting for years. Tampa has the second most goals scored in the Eastern Conference with 39. Steven Stamkos is starting to heat up with eight goals.
Quietly, they have a pretty good record at 5-3-0 overall. They got thumped 5-0 last Saturday against Boston which suggests they’re not quite there against the elite teams in the East. It’s no surprise that Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis have scored often early on. What is a shock is the secondary scoring Tampa is getting from Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat and Valterri Filppula. Ben Bishop’s 5-1-0 record is no fluke as Tampa has their goalie of the future.
10-14-13: It’s early, but they’re encouraging signs for Tampa fans as goaltender Ben Bishop seems like Tampa’s first legitimate goaltender since Nikolai Khabibulin’s departure. 2007 third round Alex Killorn has been a pleasant surprise for Tampa early on. He has six points in his first five games played. Free agent pickup Valtteri Filppula’s four goals are tied with Steve Stamkos for the team lead. He’s a plus-3 and has won just over 56.4% of his faceoffs.
10-7-13: Tampa Bay failed to register a shot in the first period in their game versus Chicago. Despite that, they won 3-2 in a shootout. Where has Steven Stamkos been? He has two assists but he’s being paid to score goals. He’s crucial if Tampa wants to go anywhere this season.
8-22-13: Last season the Tampa Bay Lightning finished out the playoffs for the fifth time in six years despite having the NHL’s top two point-producers last season in Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos. How Tampa replaces Lecavalier remains to be seen. On Nov. 9, Tampa makes its first appearance to the Joe Louis Arena as a division opponent. Lecavalier makes his return to Tampa on Nov. 27 and the Lightning close out their season on Apr. 13 on the road against their old division foe from Washington.
8-3-13: The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis to a three-year, two-way contract.
Lightning 2013 NHL Draft Summary:
Pick #3: Jonathan Drouin, LW
Pick #33: Adam Erne, LW
Pick #124: Kristers Gudlevskis, G
Pick #154: Henri Ikonen, LW
Pick #184: Saku Salminen, C
Pick #186: Joel Vermin, RW