Tampa Bay Lightning: 50 Greatest Moments In Franchise History

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Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

2. Lightning Defeat The New York Rangers, Become Eastern Conference Champions

Date: May 29, 2015

When the 2014-15 season began, the Tampa Bay Lightning knew they had gotten off to a pretty good start. At the same time, no one would have ever imagined the kind of season the Lightning would really have. In the first month of play, the Lightning would bring home victories in seven of their first 11 games.

By the time the regular season had come to an end, the Tampa Bay Lightning would be able to boast a record of 50-24-8 for a total of 108 points. These numbers would not only place the Tampa Bay Lightning in second place in the Atlantic Division and Third Place in the Eastern Conference, but this would set a new franchise record for wins and points in a single season.

For some teams in the National Hockey League, this was the end of their season; however, for the Tampa Bay Lightning, this was only the beginning. The Tampa Bay Lightning would face many tough opponents in the postseason. The first team on the Lightning’s list was the Detroit Red Wings. It would take seven games, but the Tampa Bay Lightning would ultimately come out on top and move on to the next round.

Next up, the Tampa Bay Lightning would come face-to-face with a very familiar foe. The Lightning would have to face off with their Atlantic Division rivals, the Montreal Canadiens. The Tampa Bay Lightning had a pretty big axe to grind with the Montreal Canadiens.

In the 2013-14 playoffs, the Montreal Canadiens unceremoniously ushered the Lightning out of the post season in the first round. The Tampa Bay Lightning would not be able to sweep the Canadiens in the same manner they did the Lightning in the 2013-14 season, but the Tampa Bay Lightning was able to overcome the onslaught of the Canadiens and defeat the Habs in six games.

This is where things would get really interesting for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Following the trade heard around the world that would send former Lightning captain Martin St. Louis to the New York Rangers in exchange for Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, tensions were high here in the Bolts Nation. This made the Eastern Conference Finals all that much more important for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The New York Rangers were arguably one of the toughest opponents the Tampa Bay Lightning would play in the postseason. The Lightning and Rangers would go back and forth throughout the series, but on May 29, 2015 the Tampa Bay Lightning would do what some called the impossible and defeat the New York Rangers and become the 2015 Eastern Conference Champions.

Defeating the New York Rangers was no easy task. Each and every game, the Rangers would push the Lightning to their limits. Playing against a goaltender on the level of Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is no easy task. He didn’t earn the nickname King Henry by sitting back on his heels and just allowing pucks to hit the back of the net, after all.

This was definitely a defining moment for the Tampa Bay Lightning. While the Lightning may have been thousands of miles away at Madison Square Garden, people lined the streets all through the Channelside District to watch their Tampa Bay Lightning play in one of the most crucial games of their postseason. When the final buzzer sounded, the Channelside District erupted with cheers for the Bolts.

The Tampa Bay Lightning may not have ended their postseason the way they would have hoped, but the feeling of electricity here in the Bolts Nation is something we will have with them forever. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s journey to the Stanley Cup Finals is something the players, coaches, and fans will remember forever and this is the reason the Lightning’s Eastern Conference Finals victory is one of the 50 Greatest Moments in Lightning history.

Next: Tampa Bay Lightning Become Stanley Cup Champions