Florida Panthers v Tampa Bay Lightning

Can “Lightning” “Strike” “Twice” in Tampa Bay?  (please hire me NHL.com, check out that headline!)

Well hopefully lightning cannot, in fact, strike twice, because the Bolts just finished getting cleaned out by the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals.  Seriously, I didn’t even remember that they made it to the finals.  I thought it was the Rangers. No joke.

Can future Toronto Maple Leafs star center Steven Stamkos lead the Lightning to the promised land?  Can future star Montreal hometown hero Jonathan Drouin lead the Lightning to the promised land?  Is Tampa Bay in Florida or is it in California? Why is Ben Bishop so big?  And if he’s so big shouldn’t he just be able to lie down and block the whole net and stop 100% of the shots? And if that’s the case why don’t NHL teams just hire giant fat men to be goalies and they can just block the whole net because they’re so fat?  How do you spell future franchise goalie Vasilevski’s last name? (I almost certainly mispelled it and refuse to fact-check).  These are some of the questions plaguing the 20 faithful Lightning fans.

The Tampa Bay Lightning went through this off-season leaving the team mostly intact, except for finally breaking the ancient curse preventing zombie-Brendan Morrow from returning to the grave.  Adding Erik Condra almost shouldn’t count as a move, though if you ask The Nicessist’s Shaq MacNeil he would probably say it pushes them over the top as Cup favourites.

There’s no doubting that this squad is one of the deepest and most potent in the NHL at just about every position.  When you have offensive wunderkind Jonathan Drouin sitting on the bench, you know you’re stacked.  Stamkos, Palat, Johnson, the guy everyone fleeces CPU GMs for in NHL GM mode because he becomes the best player in the league Kucherov, and that’s not even considering a dope d-corps filled with steady vets and anchored by the ever-improving Victor Hedman.  

The only real question moving into the future is whether Stamkos will re-sign, and considering superstars in the NHL are huge boring bland babies that almost never create juicy drama by leaving their teams, it’s a pretty safe bet that he will.  The  Lightning are amazing, and if Chicago can’t recover from gutting their team (but they will, because they always do) and employing a disgusting potential criminal, then I place the Tampa Bay Lightning as odds-on favourites to win the big prize.  Everyone give me your money and I’ll go to Vegas and bet on the Lightning to win the cup for you.  Just trust me.  I’m good for it.

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