When the Tampa Bay Lightning knocked off the St. Louis Blues 6-1 at home on Tuesday, it was a reminder of what the squad is capable of when everything is clicking. Nikita Kucherov had two goals, Steven Stamkos had three assist, and the Lightning even had secondary scoring from Tyler Motte and Mikey Eyssimont.
But with the Vegas Golden Knights coming to town tonight, is Tampa able to show that they are capable of having great nights in succession?
Tampa Bay Lightning: Just win
To give an idea of the inconsistency the Lightning have had in 2023, they will enter tonight with 15 wins under their belt. Now 33 games into the season, the Lightning have only have only had three stretches where they have won at least two games in a row:
- 10/24 and 10/26 against Carolina and San Jose
- 11/16, 11/18, and 11/20 against Chicago, Edmonton, and Boston
- 12/4 and 12/6 against Dallas and Pittsburgh
So if you factor in that the last game of each of those "streaks" was followed by a loss, Tampa is 4-11 following a win.
That's not great and is emblematic of why Tampa continues to cling to a playoff spot as the season is quietly about to hit the halfway point.
And it's not like Tampa hasn't had galvanizing opportunities to say "This is the moment that will spark our run." They beat Carolina 8-2 only to follow that up with a four game losing streak. They beat San Jose 6-0 only to lose their next two. And last week they had the big third period comeback against Edmonton only to lose two nights later in Calgary.
Vegas provides the opportunity to secure a win against a quality opponent that could springboard this team for the rest of its broken up homestand.
Or it could be another night of frustration that demonstrates this team isn't ready to take the next step forward.