Tonight the Lightning will take on the division rival Florida Panthers. Miami's hockey club placed last in the southeast but nearly swept the Bolts this season, allowing Tampa to take only one win thus far. Regardless, with Tampa's playoff slot secure and in honor of Fan Appreciation Night, the Lightning hope to end the regular season with a triumphant win.
With only two games remaining, the Lightning stand a chance to earn the fourth seed playoff berth. In the playoffs the fourth and fifth seed face off in the first round - with the higher seed granted home field advantage. Tampa Bay currently sits at fifth with 99 points and stands a chance to break 100 for the second time in franchise history. The fourth seeded Penguins currently have 102 points.
A win is worth two points in the standings, losing in overtime is worth one. A loss will keep the Bolts out of contention for home field advantage in the postseason entirely. If Tampa wins one and loses the other in overtime they can tie Pittsburgh, pending the Pen's lose their next two. With two wins Tampa could earn 103 pts, enough to top the Penguins if they lose their final two games. If Pittsburgh wins either, or if the lose twice in overtime, the fourth seed is out of reach.
Is it a stretch? Yeah. But win or lose Tampa has good reason to celebrate - having made the playoffs for the first time in four years - so enjoy the final home game! The puck drops at 7:30 and will be telecast on Sunsports.
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