Tampa Bay Lightning 2012-2013 Season Preview:
During the Tampa Bay Lightning's 20th year in existence in the NHL, the team got younger and faster at a variety of positions, but it didn't exactly translate to the win-loss column. The Lightning finished the 2011-12 season with a 38-36-8 record and ranked 10th in the Eastern Conference standings. However, heading into next season, the Lightning have restocked their roster from top to bottom and could overcome many of the deficiencies that plagued them throughout last season. With a mixture of savvy veterans and talented young players, the Lightning certainly have a great shot at returning to the Stanley Cup playoffs this year.
Offensively, the Lightning have boasted one of the most vaunted scoring attacks of the past several years, lead by center Steve Stamkos who scored 60 goals and finished last season with 90 points. He is joined on the first line by wingers Ryan Malone and Martin St. Louis, who proved to be valuable contributors whenever they were on the ice. While the team also added Benoit Pouliot to round out their scoring offense, the unit remains largely unchanged from a year ago and should continue to be one of the most dangerous squads in the Eastern Conference.
Defensive deficiencies were the undoing of the Lightning during the 2011-12 campaign, but general manager Steve Yzerman made sure that the team would be far grittier and more prepared this season. The team picked up Matt Carle to become a bit more physical on defense, and he will joined competent players like Eric Brewer and Sami Salo in improving the Lightning's power play and penalty kill opportunities. The biggest change will come at goaltender as the team traded for goalie Anders Lindback and picked up Mathieu Garon to back him up. The Lightning gave up the most goals out of any team in the NHL last year, so they have nowhere to go but up.
Looking ahead to the 2012-13 season, the Lightning will open up the season against their cross-state rivals, the Florida Panthers, on Saturday, October 13. They will come back home the following Tuesday for their home opener against the New York Islanders. The team will face off against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on November 17, which should give fans a good idea of just how far the Lightning can go this year.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING EXPERIENCE:
Location: Tampa, Florida
Stadium: Tampa Bay Times Forum
Conference: Eastern Conference
Division: Southeast Division
Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup Titles: 1: 2003-04
Tampa Bay Lightning Conference Championships: 1
Notable Players: Roman Hamrlik, Vincent Lecavalier, Nikita Alexeev, & Alexander Svitov
Tampa Bay Lightning plays hockey in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Tampa Bay Lightning first began playing hockey in 1992 as part of that year's NHL expansion. He team began with some success for an expansion franchise, but it would be short-lived, and by the end of the 1990's the team was at the bottom of the league. A rebuild and the acquisition of young talent worked beyond Lightning fans' wildest dreams. The team made the conference semis in 2003 and then roared to the Stanley Cup and won in 2004. After the lockout of 2004/2005, the Tampa Bay Lightning would struggle to make the playoffs, but with some off-season tweaks, hopes are high again for success.
The Tampa Bay Lightning play their home games at the Tampa Bay Times Forum (formerly nicknamed the Ice Palace, and St. Pete Times Forum). The arena holds 19,500 spectators for hockey games. Entering the glittery glass building, you'll see a large mural celebrating the 2004 Stanley Cup win. Buy Tampa Bay Lightning tickets and see if the team can repeat history this season!
Tampa Bay Lightning Season Preview History