It would be a travesty to have the Tampa Bay Lightning missing the 2022-23 Stanley Cup playoffs. They are still one of the league’s premier teams, making the Stanley Cup Final consecutively over the last three seasons.
The Lightning going beyond the regular season is probably a safe wager for fans wanting to bet on the NHL. Whether they can go all the way to clinch three championships in four years might not be quite so much of a sure thing, but the Lightning will certainly be one to watch again this year.
Team captain Steven Stamkos remains one of the team’s top players for 2022-23. The seven-time All-Star and two-time Rocket Richard Trophy recipient is the key for Tampa’s goals. 2019 Hart Trophy winner Nikita Kucherov is another one to watch, contributing assists and goals for the team, while Brayden Point is also instrumental to the Lightning’s attack.
Nicholas Paul, Mikhail Sergachev, and Alex Killorn are steady contributors and have been racking up the points so far this season. Defensively, Victor Hedman and Nicklaus Perbix are the team’s top players in the starting line, while Andrei Vasilevskiy continues to be a shutdown goalie with a 90.9 save percentage.
The Lightning has participated in the last three Stanley Cup Finals. Unfortunately, they lost in 2021-22 to the Colorado Avalanche in six games.
Before this, the Tampa Bay Lightning lifted the trophy in back to back seasons. They defeated the Dallas Stars in 2019-20 and the Montreal Canadiens in 2020-21 for their second and third Stanley Cup victories.
Also occurring over the last five years is their conference final loss to the Washington Capitals and a first-round defeat to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Lightning franchise was established in 1992 and started playing in the same year. It took them four seasons to get their first playoff berth, but they lost out to the Philadelphia Flyers.
However, the Lightning finally won their first Stanley Cup in 2003-04 after defeating the Calgary Flames in seven games. That championship placed them on the map as one of the NHL’s top squads. They did suffer some finals defeats and early playoff exits, but counting them out of postseason contention is a mistake.
The Lightning plays their home games at Amalie Arena, formerly known as Ice Palace, St. Pete Times Forum, and Tampa Bay Times Forum. The Stadium opened in October 1996 and can welcome up to 19,092 ice hockey spectators.
The Lightning’s home crowd is a part of their massive success. That’s why they don’t hold back their emotions when cheering for their team. No wonder their turf is consistently one of the loudest arenas in the NHL.
The Lightning’s success helped them create intense rivalries. They are rivals with the Boston Bruins, like how the Rays and the Red Sox are rivals in Major League Baseball. They have met in the playoffs thrice, with Tampa Bay winning twice. While the Bruins lead their regular season series, 65-29-9-3, Tampa Bay has an 11-6 edge in their postseason faceoffs.
Likewise, the Lightning is rivals with the Florida Panthers in what has been known as the Battle of Florida. The Lightning has the advantage in their all-time series, 76-62-10-13, and their playoff matchups, 8-2. Tampa Bay won both of their postseason series in 2021 and 2022. While this rivalry seems one-sided, it has been intense due to their 100 hockey fights.