Looking forward to the Tampa Bay Lightning


As each NHL team is eliminated from playoff contention – whether mathematically or losing in the postseason – we'll take a look at why their search for the Stanley Cup failed in 2018-19, along with three keys to their offseason, impact to 2019-20 and a very early forecast for what the next season will hold.

What went wrong

The regular season is over, that's what went wrong. Tampa Bay Lightning tied with the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings in most of the NHL regular season wins at 62. They led the NHL in goals per game (3.89, highest since 1996), in proficiency in contention by power (28.2 percent) and the death penalty (85.0, tied with two other teams). They were an absolute force, winning 30 of their games by three or more goals and losing two consecutive games in regulation only once in early November when Andrei Vasilevskiy was injured.

Until they missed the first two games of the first round of the playoffs for the Columbus Blue Jackets, of course.

Miss a game of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs? Want to experience a game again? Each playoff clash is available for playback on ESPN +. Watch now "

As the Jackets eliminated the Lightning, the shortened version: with a defensive neutral zone clogging system, with Sergei Bobrovsky's actual out-of-play punches, with offensive contributions from his stars while the Lightning were silent and winning the battle of special teams , mainly by staying out of the penalty box. They were not the extreme opponents who were portrayed – winning seven of eight consecutive games, finishing with the 13th best NHL record – and simply beating the Presidents' Trophy winners.


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