Monday, October 15, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

These teams keep knocking, but just can’t win (the Stanley Cup)

Some of the NHL teams that have rap, rap, rapped on the door but have never broken through (or it has been a while) to win the Stanley Cup:

Toronto Maple Leafs

Technically, they shouldn't count, since they have won the Stanley Cup 13 times. But they haven't lifted it since 1967. Or come close. Toronto has officially begun its second half-century of Cup futility, though the addition of John Tavares might change that dynamic. We'll believe it when we see it.

St. Louis Blues

The expansion team made three Cup finals right out of the box, 1967-69, and was promptly swept by Montreal and Boston (see Orr, Robert). Despite a 25-year streak of playoff appearances at one point, the Blues still have never won a game in the Cup final and have been to only three conference finals the past 48 years.

Buffalo Sabres

They have had some powerhouses over the years, from the Gilbert Perreault team that made the 1975 Cup final in just the franchise's fifth season to the Dominik Hasek team that lost in OT to Dallas in the 1999 final.

Vancouver Canucks

They were upstarts when they dabbled with destiny twice, in 1982 (lost Cup final to Islanders) and 1994 (lost Cup final to Rangers). It's when the Canucks rose to the top of the league, behind big stars (including the Sedin brothers) that things got complicated. Vancouver had the most points in the league in consecutive seasons (2010-11, 2011-12) but lost in seven games to Boston in the final in 2011 before being ousted in the first round of the playoffs the following season by eventual Cup winner Los Angeles.

San Jose Sharks

As one hockey publication put it, "They were Washington before Washington was Washington." Sharks history is filled with failed Cup attempts. They have had seven 100-point seasons since 2008-09 but have never finished the job, wasting a superstar (Joe Thornton) and one league-leading, 117-point season, as well as blowing a 3-0 lead to Los Angeles in 2014 before losing to Pittsburgh in the 2016 Cup final.

Ottawa Senators

The talented team had an open window for several seasons, including 2003, when they lost to New Jersey in the Cup final, and 2007, when they lost to Anaheim in the final, and 2017, when they lost to Pittsburgh in the conference final.

Nashville Predators

It took them forever to get out of the first round in the playoffs, only to fall to Pittsburgh in the 2017 final. The Predators still look like a contender, but despite a Cup-caliber defense and goaltender, despite winning the Presidents' Trophy last season, they were eliminated by Winnipeg in the second round of the 2018 playoffs.

Vegas Golden Knights

In first season, lost to Washington in the Cup final. The wait goes on.

Comments
‘Pucks had eyes’ for Lightning vs. Blue Jackets

‘Pucks had eyes’ for Lightning vs. Blue Jackets

TAMPA – Saturday, the Lightning made it look as if its first two games of the season never happened.Remember that  team that couldn't score more than one goal a game? It seemed all but a distant memory.The team that scored the most goals o...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Nick Kelly’s takeaways from Saturday’s Lightning-Blue Jackets game

Nick Kelly’s takeaways from Saturday’s Lightning-Blue Jackets game

So much for those issues on the power play. The Lightning spent about half of practice Friday working on its power play after failing to score on eight opportunities in its first two games of the season. The work paid off with four power-play goals a...
Published: 10/13/18
Updated: 10/14/18
Lightning gets scoring message, tops Blue Jackets 8-2

Lightning gets scoring message, tops Blue Jackets 8-2

TAMPA — In its first two games, the Lightning trying to score pretty goals produced only ugly results.It mustered two total goals through two games with that approach. So coach Jon Cooper made it clear after Thursday's loss to the Canucks: Go i...
Published: 10/13/18
Lightning journal: Rookie Mathieu Joseph has no fear

Lightning journal: Rookie Mathieu Joseph has no fear

TAMPA — Though Lightning F Mathieu Joseph shined in training camp and made the opening-day roster, his spot was not cemented in the lineup.But if he keeps playing how he has played early, he won't be going anywhere soon."The way he is playing t...
Published: 10/13/18
Lightning journal: Working on the power play

Lightning journal: Working on the power play

BRANDON — The Lightning wasted little time waiting to work on its power play once players stepped on the ice for practice Friday.The first drill: Working on the power play in separate groups on each rink at the Ice Sports Forum.The second drill...
Published: 10/12/18
What to do with those Lightning panic buttons

What to do with those Lightning panic buttons

TAMPA —Don't you have to have won the Stanley Cup to have a Stanley Cup hangover?The Lightning are 1-1. Given expectations, you'd think the sky was falling.Come with me if you want to live!Such is life after Tampa Bay's uninspired start. An und...
Published: 10/12/18
It starts with a bang and ends with a whimper

It starts with a bang and ends with a whimper

TAMPA — After Lightning coach Jon Cooper watched Brock Boeser at the All-Star Game in Tampa last season, he knew he would have his hands full when the Canucks came to town."What a talent he is," Cooper said.The right wing proved Cooper right wh...
Published: 10/11/18
Tom Jones: Late Lightning meltdown raises concerns

Tom Jones: Late Lightning meltdown raises concerns

TAMPAWell, this Lightning season sure isn't off to the start everyone expected.This is supposed to be the fun stuff — kicking ice and taking names. Running teams out of the building and scoring goals by the bushel. And wins. Lots and lots of ea...
Published: 10/11/18
Nick Kelly’s takeaways from Thursday’s Lightning-Canucks game

Nick Kelly’s takeaways from Thursday’s Lightning-Canucks game

That's how you want to start. After the Lightning had a lackluster first period Saturday vs. Florida, it all but dominated the first against Vancouver, outshooting the Canucks 17-5. Yes, the same Lightning team that did not register five shots in the...
Published: 10/11/18
Lightning journal: Break benefits Paquette after cut finger during season opener

Lightning journal: Break benefits Paquette after cut finger during season opener

TAMPA — C Cedric Paquette immediately thought the worst.What would happen to his left middle finger?A center for the Panthers skated right over it on a faceoff in the first period of the Lightning's season opener on Saturday. Paquette left the ...
Published: 10/11/18