The Tampa Bay Lightning now have a handful of days off – four days to be exact – before they head into their final five games of the regular season.
The Bolts stormed into their “Spring Break” with a commanding 5-4 comeback win over the division-rival Boston Bruins on Monday night, securing their eighth win out of the last nine games. This four-day break will be the team’s biggest chunk of time without playing a game, with the exception of the Christmas and All-Star breaks, since the start of the season when the Bolts took four days between their first and second games of the year.
Some might think this amount of time off would be a negative for a team that has been playing with such consistency, and especially a team that is chasing historic milestones. Well, based on the Lightning’s track record from this season after going at least four days without a game, those people would be correct…sort of.
After their initial four days off, following their first game of the season against the Florida Panthers, the Bolts lost 4-1 to the Canucks at home. They followed up that loss, however, with a seven-game point streak that included six regulation wins.
When the Lightning returned from the All-Star break in late January, they lost 4-2 on the road to the Pittsburgh Penguins and then went on a 14-game point streak that included a 10-win tear. Tampa Bay netted 45 goals on that 10-game winning streak to their opposition’s cumulative 19.
So yes, the Bolts may have dropped their first games back after prolonged breaks – at least in two out of three times this season – but they have managed to follow those up with some consecutive dominant performances.
Their first game back this time will be against the reigning Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals, in what will be the Bolts’ last regular-season home game and third and final meeting with the Caps in just a short span of 15 days. The Lightning will be seeking a season-series sweep of the team that broke their hearts in the Eastern Conference Finals last year, so that should serve as motivation enough to avoid a sluggish return from these four days off.
In the meantime, some of the Bolts boys, like Anthony Cirelli and Yanni Gourde, will be enjoying their “Spring Break” by just hanging out, sitting by the pool and hitting the links on the golf course.