TAMPA â?? The Lightning trails in the race for the final wild card. It has made a commendable late charge, despite more injuries and employing a patchwork lineup.
But there is the current two-game losing streak. Tonight’s game at Amalie Arena against Arizona, the second worst team in the league, qualifies as “must win.”
Arizona. Must win. Desperate hockey.
The Lightning is trying to save some face. It’s about the greater fight, a pitched battle to stave off infamy:
The most disappointing season in Tampa Bay professional sports history.
This was a team coming off a trip to the Stanley Cup final followed by a trip to the Eastern Conference final. Challenging for the Stanley seemed logical, particularly when they kept the band together. Steven Stamkos: back. Victor Hedman: signed long-term. Nikita Kucherov: signed. Ben Bishop: back. What could stop the Lightning?
Bad hockey and a pile of injuries. That’s what.
Does Stamkos’ return even matter at this point?
More important, do the Bolts want to be at the head of the class for most disappointing season?
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