The Tampa Bay Lightning kicks off their postseason journey as they take on the New Jersey Devils in Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Tampa Bay Lightning has been on a long and difficult journey this season. There were plenty of ups and more downs than fans would like to remember, but when all was said and done it was this journey which led the Lightning to where they are right now…about to kick off the first round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Tonight, the Lightning will open the doors to the Amalie Arena to take on captain Andy Greene and the New Jersey Devils. The Devils didn’t exactly have the same kind of season the Lightning did. At the same time, when it came down to it, the Devils seemed to have the Lightning’s number this season.
The Bolts and the Devils met three times over the course of the 2017-18 season. Regrettably, all three of these meetings ended in a Devils victory. This may seem surprising considering the way the Lightning played this season, but it is an unfortunate fact. The Lightning simply couldn’t solve the Devils in the regular season.
It may seem unfortunate these two teams would meet in the first round of the playoffs, but much like the regular season, the Lightning’s losses to the Devils this season are in the past. The playoffs are a whole different animal and this is the point in the season where the cream truly rises to the top and fans find out what their team is really made of.
Thankfully, the Tampa Bay Lightning roster is absolutely jam-packed with talented players ready to make an impact on the National Hockey League. This season, the Lightning was led offensively by the one and only Nikita Kucherov.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Kucherov ended the season with 39 goals and 61 assists for a grand total of 100 points to accompany his plus-15 rating. These numbers were good enough to earn the 24-year-old forward the first place position on the team in all manners scoring and third place in the league in overall points.
Nikita Kucherov was closely followed by someone who he spent a lot of time on the ice with this season, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos. Stammer finished off the season with 27 goals and 59 assists for a total of 86 points to accompany a plus-18 rating.
Unlike Kucherov, Stamkos hit a bit of a snag towards the end of the season when he was sidelined with a Lower-Body Injury. There is some good news here, though. Stammer is expected to make his return to the ice tonight as the Bolts take on the Devils.
On the opposite side of the ice, there is one player, in particular, the Lightning needs to keep a watchful eye on. Devils forward Taylor Hall led the way in the 2017-18 season with 39 goals and 54 assists for a total of 93 points. Hall finished just three spots behind Kucherov in the league in overall points.
As anyone who has watched the Lightning this season knows, the Lightning has the capability to overcome just about any obstacle. Things haven’t exactly gone the Lightning’s way when it comes to the Devils, but if the Lightning can play a consistent 60 minutes of hockey and be as aggressive with the puck as they were in their final meeting with the Boston Bruins, the Bolts will find themselves sitting pretty at the end of the postseason.
While everyone here in the Bolts Nation anxiously awaits puck drop, let’s take a closer look at all the information one will need in order to stay on top of all the action as the Tampa Bay Lightning takes on the New Jersey Devils in Game One of the First Round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Game: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New Jersey Devils
Venue: Amalie Arena
Location: Tampa, Florida
Date: Thursday, April 12,, 2018
Start Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
TV Info: Fox Sports Sun, SN, NHL Network, TVAS2, MSG+
Radio Info: Lightning Radio on 970WFLA or TBL Power Play on iHeartRadio
Live Stream: NHL.com
The Tampa Bay Lightning seems to be the odds-on favorite to go all the way this season. Unfortunately, before Stanley can start booking his vacation to the Sunshine State the Lightning will have to right a regular season wrong and find a way to solve the puzzle known as the New Jersey Devils. This journey starts tonight right here in Tampa.