The lightning had been hanging around the basement of the eastern conference standings most of the season while sitting in 14 the place with a 21 - 26 - 6 record on February 6th. That day, after tying the flyers 2 - 2, G.M. Paul Lamarche brought in superstar defensemen Zdneno Chara to try an ignite the team. It turns out, the acquisition of Chara did exacly that as the team went on to win their next 3 games and have gone 15-7-2 since the trade. Right now the lightning sit 11th in the east but only 1 point behind 8th place and 2 points behind 7th. There are currently 5 teams battling for the final two playoff spots and all 5 are all within 2 points of each other which will create quite the dog fight to finish off the regular season in the easter conference. I believe the lightning need at the very least 7 points out of the possible 10 in the remaining 5 games to have a chance at securing one of the final 2 spots and to examine the potential of this occuring, here is a look at the final 5 matchups:
April 13th: Tampa at Minnesota - Will be the biggest win of the tampa franchise if we could pull of a victory here but realistically we are hoping for 1 point or at the very least no injuries!
April 14th: Tampa at Chicago - Must win for the lightning, Chicago has performed well all season with a very subpar team rating wise all season. Tampa has to show up and beat a team that they should be on paper every night
April 17th: Tampa at Buffalo - Another must win for the lightning, Buffalo is currently holding the 7th spot with 2 points up on tampa. If Tampa wins this game in regulation and gets the same amount of points as buffalo in the other 4 games they will finish ahead of buffalo because they will have more victories then the sabres
April 19th: Florida at Tampa - I guess all games are must wins, especially if we lose to the wild on the 13th. This will be the final home game of the season and the lightning will have to give the fans a great show in beating a very good florida team.
April 20th: Tampa at Carolina - Final game of the season. This is where the lightning hope to have their destiny in their own hands. Tampa wants to be going into this game knowing that if they win they will be in the playoffs.
It's going to be a great race, can't wait to see how it all unfolds!!!