Lightning Officially Clinch Playoff Birth

Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

It was only a matter of time. The Tampa Bay Lightning officially secured their spot in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs Saturday night with their 5-0 shutout win over the New York Islanders. This playoffs marks the sixth straight for the Lightning who have only missed the playoffs once in the Jon Cooper era.

The Lightning’s game began to turn the corner last Saturday after struggling over the previous month. Those struggles have prolonged their inevitable birth in the playoffs but there is every reason to be confident in the way they are playing now with their playoff spot officially locked up.

Since the Lightning began rounding into form over the last week, the depth scoring has come around too. Saturday saw Tanner Jeannot net his first Lightning goal thanks to a setup from Pierre-Edouard Bellemare who now has points in three of his last four games since finding himself on the same line with Jeannot.

One of the more interesting developments as far as the depth of this team is concerned has been the emergence of Darren Raddysh who has now dressed each of the last four games. Raddysh recorded his first NHL point with an assist on Mikhail Sergachev’s first period goal Saturday night and would end up collecting a second assist later in the game. Raddysh seems to be getting a real hard look at becoming a viable lineup option come playoff time and he has been making the most of it so far.

Once again, the Lightning played a stellar game defensively Saturday night. Andrei Vasilevskiy recorded his second shutout in the last week and the Lightning have now allowed just three goals in their last four games. Now with the playoffs clinched, all signs are pointing to the Lightning heading into playoffs peaking at the right time.

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