Before the season, Tampa Bay was popular choice among futures hockey bettors to win the Stanley Cup based on their body of work the past two years. Why than are the Lightning underperforming?
Tampa Bay has lost to the last two Stanley Cup champions in the playoffs, Chicago in the Cup Finals two years ago and Pittsburgh in the East Finals last spring in Game 7 after having a chance to eliminate the Pens in Game 6 in Tampa.
Last year, the Lightning got off to sluggish start and everyone's assumption of a long Cup run hangover (even if losing) for this team was partly true, as we have witnessed of many other tams in the past. Tampa Bay got it together just before midseason to finish second in the Atlantic Division and was one victory from back-to-back Finals appearances.
The Lightning losing their captain and offensive superstar the Steven Stamkos hurt the team, especially since he had been playing some of his best hockey in two years before the injury. He tore the MCL in his knee in mid-November and was ruled out four months.
But this goes a little deeper, as Lightning GM Steve Yzerman expressed. "Even with Stammer (Stamkos) or other players being injured, we've been able to generate offense, get enough production and ultimately play well defensively and keep the puck out of our net to win games."
To this point, Tampa Bay is 15-15 SU, for -4.1 units for it backers making NHL picks. Offensively, the Lightning are Top 10 in most categories, yet have had too many games where the offense and defense fail at the same time. Eleven of their defeats have been by two or more goals, with five setbacks by three or more. Goalie Ben Bishop has been on the trading block for close to a year and it appears to be affecting him, ranking 34th in goals allowed and 35th in save percentage.
If you are studying the NHL odds at A+ rated BetOnline or any other sportsbook, supporting the Lightning currently can make one feel like they have felt a jolt of lightning.