Sunday, September 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Fennelly: Has the Lightning given us any hint a turnaround is on the way?

The Lightning just retired Marty St. Louis' jersey.

It might be about to retire its playoff chances.

There are 20 NHL teams with more points than the Lightning.

Eleven of those teams are in the Eastern Conference.

The Lightning is six points out of the final wild-card spot.

All pertinent facts as the Lightning begins a 13-day, six-game road trip today in Los Angeles.

This season might be over and done with by the time the Bolts return.

Throw in the fact that the Lightning has been lousy against the Western Conference, and on the road.

Where, exactly, is the daylight?

Has the Lightning given us any hint that a turnaround is on the way?

What happened to that Cup contender?

I watched the Lightning lose to Columbus the other night.

It had nothing when it mattered.

I mean, the Lightning has played 44 games and won just 20 of them.

Toronto is ahead of them in the conference.

Toronto.

The Lightning has had injuries. But it also has had a lot of bad hockey, uninspired hockey, and average goaltending.

Maybe Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy, who have combined for just a .903 save percentage, are about to come alive.

Maybe not.

Why would we xpect that at this point?

This has been a monumentally disappointing season.

It's not so bad that it's going to cost Lightning coach Jon Cooper his job or anything. That would be madness. Guy has been a playoff-making machine until this season. Cooper isn't going anywhere.

But his team is in a hole, and if this trip west goes south, the Lightning will be in a race they can't win.

And to think these were the guys who were going to make us forget that lousy Rays season or that the Bucs couldn't close the deal in December.

Maybe it begins to turn around in Los Angeles, or in Anaheim, or in San Jose, or Arizona or Chicago or down in Sunrise against the Panthers, where this trip ends.

All I know is the Lightning average 2.75 goals per game — and average 2.95 goals against.

That's losing hockey.

This is the trip where the Lightning have to make a dent.

It might take eight points on the road, maybe more.

I'm not seeing it.

I'm seeing a season that has been lost from the start.

The Lightning has proved me wrong before.

Have at it, guys.

Comments
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