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Streaking Lightning still could have a shot at playoffs

Feb 1, 2012, 12:15 AM EDT

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.

  1. bcisleman - Feb 1, 2012 at 2:34 AM

    If the Bolts are still in it, so are the Islanders. Isles are just a point behind the Bolts and have won 2 of 3 against them. Bolts would need about 46 points in 33 games to make the playoffs. Not with their goaltending.

  2. bethgoesglobal - Feb 1, 2012 at 7:23 AM

    I’m sorry but at this point I don’t think any team with less than 50pts in the Eastern Conference at this point will make it into the Playoffs. If any team in the Southeast division other than the Capitals (who will win the division again despite a very shaky season) is going to get in it would probably be the Panthers. There are too many other teams in the Conference that have been playing better hockey with any real regularity (at least for the most part). But hey, stranger things have happened and that’s what makes the upcoming draft deadline so exciting! Will anyone find that key ingredient(s) that can push them into the post-season?

    • bethgoesglobal - Feb 1, 2012 at 2:29 PM

      What’s with all the haters? I didn’t make any definitive statements here. “I don’t think” does not = no one will. “Stranger things HAVE happened” and a lot of teams WILL look different on Feb 28th. Anyone getting That defensive about their team- in my Opinion- may not “believe” as much as they’re letting on. While this article is about the Lightning there are more teams with less than 50pts than just the Tampa. I do like to see what others have to say on the matter though (thanks @lsxphotog) so keep ’em coming :)

  3. lsxphotog - Feb 1, 2012 at 8:40 AM

    There are a total of 66 points left for the Lightning. Historically speaking, they will need about 40 or more of those to make the cut. It’s wishful thinking for sure, and leaves them no room for another losing streak. If they can play a second half like they should, it’s still a possibility. Say they do make it to the playoffs…they’re not going anywhere with their goalie tandem. So, realistically, it doesn’t mean too much. But the truth is that the Lightning have played dominant hockey over their last 5 opponents. Last night’s game should have been 1-3 in regulation, had Thompson not scored on his own net and the incredibly worthless Gilroy hadn’t handed the puck over in the slot. The score does not reflect the performance from Tampa. If they play like they have for the past 5 contests every night, they’ll certainly take a stab for the 8th seed. Here’s to wishful thinking from a fan who still believes.

    • dipthatchip - Feb 1, 2012 at 10:39 AM

      Tampa’s play last night was not dominant by any means. The Capitals held the tempo for the majority of the game and if it wasn’t for Hamrlik’s dumbass getting tripped up over Lecavalier entering the zone, I don’t believe the Caps would have trailed at all.

      Thank god both teams are in the Southeast division though, or else the playoff hunt for each would look much more grim

      • dipthatchip - Feb 1, 2012 at 11:58 AM

        and here’s a great screenshot of the double interference/offsides that led to St/ Louis goal

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