Last season the Tampa Bay Lightning won the President's trophy, won the eastern conference finals by defeating a very strong sens team in 7 games and went on to win the Stanley Cup in 7 games to defeat the Calgary Flames. It was an amazing season where everything just seemed to go right for the talented lightning squad. Unfortunately the same can not be said so far for the 2016/17 season which leads one to wonder if there is some legitimacy to the theory of a stanley cup hangover?
Before last season the lightning had only made the playoffs once which was 4 or 5 years ago and didn't even make it out of the first round. This franchise is not used to playing hockey in june so it would be understandable if the players routines in regards to offseason training were affected after playing for an extra month longer than they are used to. This may have affected 2nd line center David Krejci who missed 30 games to an injury and hasn't quite looked himself while being on the ice either as he has a measely 2 assists in 7 games this season. On defence, number 1 defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk had a career year last year scoring 14 goals and 52 points with a +26 rating in 70 games. This year however has been a struggle for Kevin where with similar ratings, he only has 2 goals and 6 points with a -11 ratings in 30 games so far this season. That gives him a pace of 5 goals and 10 assists in 75 games which is a far cry from his 2015-16 season.
The slow start from key players in the lightning lineup has definitely shown in the standings where the lightning currently sit in 11th place in the eastern conference 3 points behind their division rival Winnipeg Jets for the 8th seed and final playoff spot. Even though this is far worst than where the lightning were in the standings just one year ago, they are quite lucky to be where they are in the standings at this point in the season and much of the credit for that must go to star goaltender Jonathan Quick. In 29 games this season, Quick has won 15 games while posting a 2.11 G.A.A and a .920 save % which places him 4th and 5th respectively in the NEFHL this season amongst starting goaltenders.
The lightning are a bit dissapointed in their start of the season but it may be the best thing that could have happened to them. Last year went so smoothly but they can't expect every season to go that way. They've dealt with some injuries and some slumps from key players and luckily Quick has kept them in the hunt. Now they know that it's not going to just come easy and that they will have to work for everything they earn. Luckilly, everyone is healthy at this moment of the season and it's time for the tides to turn and time for a lightning return to championship form.