Monday, January 21, 2013
Tampa Bay's wild card
By Luke Lapinski
The Tampa Bay Lightning boast some impressive talent up front. Steven Stamkos might very well be the best goal scorer in the game right now, while established vets like Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier continue to be productive on a nightly basis. Other decent weapons like Teddy Purcell and Ryan Malone reside up front as well, while highly touted youngsters like Cory Conacher are breaking in and looking to take the next step.
In other words, scoring shouldn't be a problem for this club. Most teams that have that sort of offense to lean on, yet the Lightning missed the playoffs last season by eight points. The issue, of course, was in net, where they allowed a league worst 3.39 goals per game. In fact, they've finished among the bottom ten in goals allowed for six straight seasons.
The logical question now is whether or not the offseason acquisition of Anders Lindback will remedy the problem. He made 27 saves to grab a victory over Washington on Saturday, and figures to get the nod between the pipes again today against the New York Islanders. If he can take the reins as the team's clear-cut No. 1 option in net, it would go a long way towards pushing Tampa Bay back to the postseason.