With the NHL season gaining speed in the regular season, teams are beginning to settle into place, but the Tampa Bay Lightning feel stuck in the middle.
A perennial playoff contender, Tampa Bay moved on from many members of its aging championship roster. The team has remained a solid force despite being expected to regress. However, it’s clear the Lightning are not at it’s former strength, sitting at 10-7-5 and fourth in the Atlantic Division.
As teams get rolling and begin to think about long-term goals, it’s time for the Lightning to gain momentum or risk falling far behind the pack. Tonight’s matchup against the Arizona Coyotes could be a big factor in which path the team takes. Here’s why:
The Lightning are coming off of a 4-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche last night. Despite taking 41 shots, Tampa Bay was only able to convert one goal. The team also went 0-for-3 on powerplay opportunities.
Colorado needed just over half as many shots to quadruple that scoring total. At 15-6-0, the Aves represent one of NHL juggernauts. The loss puts the Lightning into context with the rest of the league. This is not the same team that’s going to make unprecedented regular season runs or postseason surges like it used t0.
At 9-9-2, Arizona sits as -145 betting favorites in tonight’s matchup. In their favor is a 2-0 win over Las Vegas to use as momentum. However, if Tampa Bay can secure a win at home tonight, it could be the start of a momentum surge.