Author’s Note: I go the wins-in-an-NHL-season record wrong in this piece. The record is 62 wins by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wins. Research quick results were not clear on the record. The Lightning could tie that mark. To break it would be on grand sports record fe.
16 games remain in the 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning regular season and hoo-boy, have those first 66 delivered. 50 wins in 66 games tie the NHL record for the feat.
While a contingent of fans might lock this performance into what the club will do in the playoffs, I warn you not to. That’s the Second Season. Everything starts over for every club involved in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and there have been incidents in the history of the NHL and professional sports in general where a paramount club is taken down with shocking ease by a lower ranking challenger.
Getting ahead of ourselves is not the point of this write-up, the point is actually the Bolts potentially threatening, reaching, and breaking said league record.
60 wins isn’t impossible, but it’s tough… or should be.
To take 50 wins from 66 games played gives the Bolts a mite over a .750 winning percentage. If you apply that simply to the number of games ahead, that’s 12 potential wins. A 62 win season shatters the NHL record and is… just math done by me. You have to play the games and that’s what causes a win or a loss. Not ratio logic and blah-blah-blah by analysts, columnists or bloggers.
It’s notable that the entire season series against the Bolts 2018 Eastern Conference nemesis (and eventual Stanley Cup Champion) Washington Capitals will be played during the 16-game span (March 16th, 20th, and 30th). Other remaining games are Atlantic Divisional heavy but it’s also peppered with Central Division opponents (Winnipeg, Minnesota, and St. Louis) and a loner from the Pacific (Arizona) rounds out the end of the Western Conference foes.
The season closes on the road with four game road trip
versus division rivals Ottawa, Montréal, Toronto and Boston.
With the remainder of the season, the goal for the Lightning is 60. It’s a mark to meet or breach, that’s the immediate mental stance to have going forward.opposition. On the other hand, the opposition knows that they have to play at another level to take down the dominating storm from Tampa Bay. It becomes like the playoffs before that Second Season has even begun.
And the opposition have something all their own to worry focus on in their remaining games: They’re vying for the playoffs – be it seeding or making the playoffs at all.
- The Capitals are neck and neck with the New York Islanders for the top spot in the Metro. The Carolina Hurricanes, who are also on the Bolts upcoming schedule, are 3 points back.
- Toronto trails Boston by 3 points for 2nd place in the Atlantic.
- Montréal has to stay in front of Columbus for a wild card slot
- Winnipeg leads the Central, while St. Louis is 6 points back
- Minnesota is trying to stay ahead of the Arizona Coyotes in the Western Conference Wild Card race and Arizona is just a point behind
- Minnesota is only 4 points behind St. Louis in the Central; it adds weight to both clubs remaining schedules
Do you think any of those teams are going to just roll over
and play dead against? Keep dreaming. That’ll only play out when aspects behind
the scenes and in the locker room have an effect on gameplay.
Don’t even write off the Detroit Red Wings, who are submerged in the Eastern Conference with the Senators at the bottom of the Atlantic Division. Clubs in poor position want to try to save face. A half-ass effort playing against a 2nd tier club who brings their A-game is a recipe or an embarrassing disappointment.
I guess my earlier point about not comparing the season to
what is to come in the playoffs applies here too: 16 games left and it’s a
blank slate to take going forward. Don’t expect an undefeated run, don’t write
off slated opponents. You have to play the game in order to win…
And the Bolts are oh so close to setting a record for winning. They’ve shown the league that they come to play, oh how they have shown…