Tampa Bay Lightning Success Not Guaranteed, Despite Being Only Elite Team in NHL

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 27: Victor Hedman #77 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates with his team after scoring the winning overtime goal against the New York Rangers during their game at Madison Square Garden on February 27, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Lightning are a powerhouse of the NHL, that is nothing surprising for any hockey fan. They have the most productive player in the League, record-setting team and dominance in each department. However, Tampa Bay Lightning success is not a guarantee. The Lightning, the only elite team in the NHL, has recently overwritten the record books. And that´s the example they have to be aware of.

Tampa Bay Lightning – The Best Team in the NHL

The regular season of the NHL now seems very small for such a giant as the Tampa Bay Lightning. They are currently first in points overall with 106 points. The second best team in the whole NHL has 89 points. Tampa Bay Lightning success is going to easily claim Presidents´ Trophy for the best team in the regular season.

Tampa Bay has the best power play and the best home record in the NHL. Nikita Kucherov has 108 points as he sits atop of the NHL scoring list. Russian point-machine seems to be poised for lifting the Art Ross Trophy at the end of the season. The second best in that regard is Patrick Kane with 94 points. Kane is also experiencing one of the best seasons in his career.

But the Chicago Blackhawks has nothing to do with this Tampa Bay Lightning team. It´s not only about Nikita Kucherov. It´s pretty much about the whole team, from goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy to the defence lead by Victor Hedman or Ryan McDonagh to the offence powered by Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point or Tyler Johnson. We would need to list all of the players on the Lightning´s roster in order to fully appreciate what kind of powerhouse they have been during the current campaign.

Detroit Red Wings Serving as Awareness Point for Tampa Bay

It has been so much connected with the Detroit Red Wings for the Lightning. Why? Simply because they reached 50th win of the season in a game number 66. The last and only team to accomplish this fate was Detroit in 1996, so 23 years ago. The Red Wings set the new NHL record with 62 wins in that season. That is yet to be surpassed. The Lightning are willing to go all the way and overwrite history.

The Lightning will win the Presidents´ Trophy. The last team to win that trophy and eventually win the Stanley Cup was the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013. But that has been a lockout season, not a full 82-game campaign. The pre-last team to claim both the regular season and the post-season in the NHL? Yes, it was the Red Wings in 2008. Those same Red Wings remember repeating Presidents´ Trophy success from 2009 and getting defeated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup final.

What about that accomplishment by Detroit in 1996? They seemed like a sure bet to win the Stanley Cup. They were the only NHL powerhouse. The Colorado Avalanche eliminated them in the Western Conference final in six games. The Avs won the Stanley Cup that year. What has happened next season? The Avalanche won the Presidents´ Trophy, but the Red Wings beat them in the Western Conference final in six games and claimed the Stanley Cup.

Steve Yzerman Built Tampa Bay And Left It

The connection between that Detroit team from 1996 and this Tampa Bay team from 2019 appears to be very strong. Steve Yzerman was the captain of the Red Wings in that season. It was Yzerman himself who came to Tampa Bay in the summer of 2010 as a General Manager. And the rest is history. The Lightning have had the window wide-open in recent years. They made it to the Cup final in 2015, just falling short against the Blackhawks.

In the following season, the Pittsburgh Penguins beat them and eventually won the Stanley Cup. Last season, the Washington Capitals stopped Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference final again and went to win the Stanley Cup. Steve Yzerman decided to abandon the Lightning during the last summer, but that hasn’t harmed them so far. Nevertheless, it seems like the window may start to close since the next season and the Lightning Management know it.

Yzerman built a great team in Tampa Bay. Similar to the high-octane fire-powered squad he captained in those 1995-1996 and 1996-1997 seasons in Detroit. Nikita Kucherov is the most productive player of this Tampa Bay Lightning team, now with 108 points. In 1996, it was Sergei Fedorov who lead Detroit in points with 107 points.

Two Russian superstars powering two different heavyweight teams lead by Steve Yzerman. Detroit failed in 1996 but got its´ revenge pretty soon. The Stanley Cup is around the corner for Tampa Bay as well.

The Window For a Win Is Now For Tampa Bay

The Window to claim the Stanley Cup for the Tampa Bay Lightning is now. “Tampa Bay is the only elite team in the NHL. There is a huge gap between them and the rest of the League. They don’t have any opponent or weakness, no one can seemingly stop them. We don’t see bigger favourites to win the Stanley Cup right now. Tampa Bay is the team to be feared. The rest of the NHL is not on the same level,” stated tsn.com and its´ analyst Craig Button.

It has been 15 years since the Lightning won their only Stanley Cup in their franchise history. They have never been closer to winning their second one. They have been the team to beat during those past seasons. Even though the odds of the best regular season team winning the Stanley Cup aren’t high, Tampa Bay has to put aside every stat and win it. They have the weapons and enough of mementos to do so. But remember, the playoffs are a completely different and new competition. The Tampa Bay Lightning success in the regular season will help them but they have a long way to go to win a cup.

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