On Saturday, the Lightning started their four-game home stand with a loss against the Montreal Canadiens. The week ahead is no easier. The Bolts face the Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks, Ottawa Senators, and then cross Alligator Alley to play the Florida Panthers.
Keys to the Week Ahead:
Most importantly, the Lightning need to play with more urgency. The explosive start that they had in Boston and New Jersey was a good example despite the losses.
In addition to the overall urgency, they need their primary point scorers, like Steven Stamkos and Simon Gagne to do their part. Stamkos has now gone nine games without a goal, and Gagne has only 3 points in the past 8 games.
Week at a Glance:
Monday, March 7, Washington Capitals - The final of six meetings between these two teams, the Caps and Bolts have been at each other all season long, on the ice and in the standings. If Washington wins their game tonight, the Lightning will be trying to regain their position atop of the Southeast division from the Captials. The Capitals lead the season series 3-2 against the Bolts. The Lightning will need to play this game as if it's a playoff game if they want to finish the series even with the Capitals
Wednesday, March 9, Chicago Blackhawks - Chicago has won eight games in a row, and captain Jonathan Toews has been tearing up the score sheet. Chicago has scored 20 goals in their past four games. This is the first and only meeting of these two teams this season. As two titans of their conferences, this game is either going to be a close one or a devastating blow-out. After facing the Capitals, the Lightning are going to have another night where their best hockey is required if they want to beat the red-hot 'Hawks.
Friday, March 12, Ottawa Senators - The last-in-the-Northeast-division Senators will be in town on Wednesday for the second and final meeting of the season. While the Senators haven't been playing well, the last meeting between the two teams was only a one goal game. With every game needing to count for the Lightning, they can't afford to take it easy, even on a team that has no chance of making the playoffs.
Saturday, March 12, at Florida Panthers - Finally back on the road, the Bolts travel to Sunrise to play the Panthers for the fifth time this season. The Panthers have been a thorn in the side of the Lightning all season long, leading the series 3-1. Three of the four games needed a shootout to decide the victor, so expect another close game.