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Jan 24, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; The Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate their victory following the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. Tampa Bay won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Lightning Finding their Identity?

Just over halfway through the season, the Tampa Bay Lightning (22-22-5) are still trying to find their identity. After finishing with a 46-31-5 record a season ago, the Lightning are not currently on pace to repeat that. Tampa Bay finished second in the Atlantic division and sixth in the Eastern conference. At the Midway point of last year, the Lightning were ten games over .500.

Recent games

The Lightning are yet to successfully go on a five game win streak this year, after doing so twice last season by this time.  They are coming off a 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks (30-15-5), who are second in the Central Division. That win ended a three game losing streak for the Lightning. Two of those losses came via the top two teams in the Pacific division, the San Jose Sharks (31-16-2) and the Anaheim Ducks (27-14-9).

https://twitter.com/TBLightning/status/824119608793763842

Statistics

Tampa Bay ranks fifth in power play percentage, 15th in goals per game, 18th in penalty kill percentage and 23rd in goals against.

The Lightning are led in scoring by Nikita Kucherov with 43 points. He is tied for 14th in the league in that category alongside Jeff Carter, Alex Ovechkin and Nikolaj Ehlers. Kucherov also led the Lightning last season, finishing up with a total of 66 points.

All-Stars

There will be two first time All-stars coming from Tampa Bay, despite the lackluster team play. The aforementioned Nikita Kucherov and defensive anchor Victor Hedman will both represent the team during the festivities. Hedman is also the second leading scorer for the Lightning with 38 points. He is fresh off signing an eight year contract extension as well.

The Tampa Bay Lightning can still turn their inconsistent season around. If the team can find a way to sneak into the postseason, they are sure to be a threat.

Their next game will be on the road against the Florida Panthers (20-19-10) on Thursday. Scheduled start time is set at 7:30 p.m.

About Anthony Williams

Telecommunications Student at the University of Florida WUFT Reporter Blogger

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