Tampa Bay Lightning Struggling To Make It Back To The Top


The Tampa Bay Lightning has certainly been playing hard, but despite all of their efforts they are still struggling to make it back to the top of the NHL.

When the Tampa Bay Lightning kicked off their season on October 8th with the Tampa Bay Lightning Home Opener against the hard-hitting Philadelphia Flyers, we all knew there were going to be some challenges. Despite having the talent and skill to make it to the grand stage, not having much of an off-season has usually proved to be difficult for a team looking for a repeat performance.

The Tampa Bay Lightning entered this season with mostly the exact same roster that took them all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals and earned them the title of 2015 Eastern Conference Champions. Unfortunately, despite having a roster packed with talented and highly-skilled players, the Tampa Bay Lightning has somehow struggled to find a glimmer of the success they had last season.

Early on in the season, the problem was crystal clear. While the defense and the goaltenders were doing their best to hold off their opponents and keep them out of the back of the net, the Lightning’s offense just couldn’t seem to make it happen. This was not for lack of trying, though. In all honestly, it seemed like the Lightning were hitting just as many goal posts as pucks being stopped by the opposing goaltender.

As the season pressed on, the Tampa Bay Lightning managed to shake off some of the rust that was holding them back and began to make some pretty impressive goals. Unfortunately, this has not been enough to keep the Tampa Bay Lightning in the win column consistently.

The key word to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s issues can be found in the final sentence of the last paragraph, consistency. The Tampa Bay Lightning have had all sorts of difficulties playing a consistent 60 minutes of hockey this season. The Bolts will either start out the game with a fiery passion in their souls, somehow managing to fall apart in the final minutes of the third period, or they will start our sluggish and find themselves buried in a hole they can no longer dig themselves out of.

Unfortunately, there is something else at play here that could be preventing the Tampa Bay Lightning from finding the consistency they have been so desperately searching for. As of this morning, the Tampa Bay Lightning now have a total of five players on the injury list.

Two-thirds of the Triplets, center Tyler Johnson and left wing Ondrej Palat, are both out with injuries. Palat is expected to be out 3-5 weeks with a Lower Body Injury, while Johnson is listed as Day-to-Day with an Upper Body Injury. This brings us to center Cedric Paquette and left wing Jonathan Drouin, who are both listed as Day-to-Day with undisclosed injuries.

As of this morning, we can add another name to that list. Tampa Bay Lightning alternate captain Ryan Callahan has been listed as Day-to-Day with a Lower Body Injury and is expected to be ruled out tomorrow night against his former team, the New York Rangers.

This means the Tampa Bay Lightning are now short a total of five forwards. On top of that, they are short five forwards who have proven themselves to be an integral part of the Lightning’s success.

The first thing the Tampa Bay Lightning will need to do if they hope to find the consistency they are desperately seeking, they are going to have to get their players healthy. While we have full faith in the capabilities of our young players from the Syracuse Crunch who have received the call to join the Lightning’s main roster, there is something to be said about having a fully-functional roster.

The second thing they are going to have to do is clear their minds from the mistakes of the past and concentrate only on the task in front of them. This is a sentiment shared by the captain himself.

"“Tough one to swallow, but no point in hanging our heads now. That’s not going to do anything for us. We have to keep working hard” – Steven Stamkos via Bryan Burns/Tampa Bay Lightning"

We all know the Tampa Bay Lightning has all the pieces they need in order to get the job done and find themselves in a comfortable position at the end of the season. All they have to do is maintain focus and take things one game at a time. This task is a lot easier said than done, but if there is any team in the National Hockey League we believe can get the job done, it is our Tampa Bay Lightning.

What do you think the Lightning need to do in order to get back on the right track? What changes do you think need to be made to the Lightning roster in order for them to be successful? How do you think the plethora of injuries is affecting the team? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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