Yo-Yo season continues for Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning have been taking two step forward, followed by two steps back all season long. 28 games into the season, the Bolts are not in a playoff position.

Mar 5, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA;  Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper comes off the
Mar 5, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper comes off the / James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit

In some regards, we have seen this story before by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The squad starts out slow but eventually gets it together to go on a deep run.

But 28 games into the 2023-24 season, the window to go on that run is slowly approaching the territory of "early season struggles" to "this might just be who this squad is."

Tampa Bay Lightning: Slow and steady wins the race

Tampa lost last night to the Nashville Predators 5-1. Jonas Johansson took the start and gave up four goals off 29 shots. On the surface, one could say that Tampa outshot Nashville 33-30 and deserved a better fate.

The deeper stats would tell you that 5-1 was completely warranted.

Nashville had 15 high-danger chances to the ten the Tampa Bay Lightning had. Yes, the Lightning were generating shots, but most of them came from outside the dot in the right circle, while the Predators made it a point to get to the front of the net.

Nashville had an expected goals of 4.78 while Tampa had just 2.6.

And the problem for Tampa is that these kind of nights keep happening.

After being blasted by Dallas to cap off a four-game losing streak, the Lightning returned home and picked up a huge 4-0 win over that same Dallas squad and avenged their loss to Pittsburgh with a 3-1 victory.

In previous years, this would be the catalyst to get the Lightning off and running.

Oops.

In fact, the four-game losing streak came off the heels of beating Carolina 8-2. Tampa beat Boston only to fall to Winnipeg in the next game. They beat San Jose 6-0, only to lose their next two games to Seattle and Columbus.

Yes, as it stands right now, the Lightning are "tied" for the 8th and final playoff spot and are only one point behind Toronto. Tampa has also played five more games than Toronto at this point.

In 2019-2020, Tampa was in a similar position before they ripped off a ten game winning streak that started on December 23.

That time is fast approaching.