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In the 2018-2019 season, the Lightning absolutely ran away with the President's Trophy, accumulating 128 points. Their season came to a rather abrupt halt though, losing in just 4 games to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the playoffs. This year, the team is hoping for a better outcome. The Lightning have retained the majority of their key players and are set to make a deep run into the playoffs. The team is still built around their super star, Art Ross Trophy and Hart Trophy Winner Nikita Kucherov. They continue to have strong goal tending from Vezina winner Andrei Vasilevskiy. Now it is up to the Lightning to figure out how to get through the first round of the playoffs and get playoff production out of their key performers.
Tampa Bay Lightning History
The Tampa Bay Lightning were established in December of 1991 as an NHL expansion team. The team was named after Tampa Bay’s status as the Lightning Capital of North America”. For more than a decade the Lightning struggled to be a dominant team in the NHL. That all changed in the 2002-03 season when the Lightning went 36-25-16 with 93 points. This was the first time the franchise broken in the 90-point barrier since its inception. They won their division that season, which allowed them to have the home advantage in the playoffs against the Washington Capitals. The Lightning beat the Capitals four games to two and advanced to the Conference Semi-finals for the first time in franchise history. Unfortunately, the Lightning could not make it past the New Jersey Devils, who won the series 4-1. The 2002-03 season was a huge stepping stone in the improvement for the team. The next season would prove to be even more successful.
The Lightning held onto their core of players led by Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, and Fredrik Modin – all of whom helped the team finish the 2003-04 regular season with a record of 46-22-8-6 for 106 points. It was the second-best record in the NHL only behind the Detroit Red Wings and the first 100-point season in franchise history. In the first round of the playoffs, the Lightning beat the New York Islanders five games to one. Advancing to the Conference Semi-finals, the Lightning went up against the Montreal Canadiens and easily swept them in four games. Now the Lightning had made it further into the postseason than they ever had, and the pressure was on. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Lightning went head to head with the Philadelphia Flyers. It was an intense series, but the Lightning came out on top winning 4-3 and the Tampa Bay team advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history. Their opponent was the Calgary Flames who proved to be a difficult team. The series went to seven games with the Lightning taking home the Stanley Cup. Brad Richards won the Conn Smythe Trophy for most valuable players of the playoffs. It was a season that would go down in history for Tampa Bay. The Lightning have not won a Stanley Cup since, but they continue to persevere and make it their goal to win a second.
With a Stanley Cup banner hanging in the rafters at Amalie Arena, there are always championship aspirations in Tampa Bay. The players tasked with carrying on the winning tradition are Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson and Victor Hedman. The Lightning made playoff appearance three consecutive years, from 2014-2016. They failed to secure a playoff spot in the 2016-17 season but returned in the 2017-18 season. Finishing the regular season with a record of 54-23-5, the Lightning faced the New Jersey Devils in the first round of the playoffs. Tampa Bay easily handled New Jersey and won the series 4-1. In the Conference Semi-finals the Lightning faced the Boston Bruins and also won this series 4-1. The Lightning advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals to face the Washington Capitals. It was a tight series, but the Lightning lost to the Capitals in seven games. Find your Tampa Bay Lightning tickets today to see this team continue its successful run.
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