Dear Readers,

The coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread disruption to the lives of everyone in Tampa Bay and to so many businesses in our community. Here at the Tampa Bay Times, we continue to provide free, up-to-date information at as a public service. But we need your help. Please consider supporting us by subscribing or donating, and by sharing our work. Thank you.

  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Lightning

What the Lightning, Microsoft Paint drawings and Reddit share

Since fans started using an old Microsoft program for pregame threads, Tampa Bay is 19-2-1. Coincidence?
A screenshot from Reddit of a celebratory drawing, part of a trend among Lightning fans. []

The Lightning have a powerful element in their corner: MS Paint.

Wait, the graphics drawing program from Microsoft? Yup, that’s the one.

While most of us have completely forgotten about the old software that comes on every Windows computer, the Lightning fans of Reddit have harnessed its power.

Reddit, a collection of forums with the tagline “the front page of the internet,” has “subreddits” for everything from “What’s this bug” to “Ask me anything.” The sports fandom communities are especially strong.

Related: Sign up for our Lightning Strikes newsletter to get updates in your inbox weekly

Within the Lightning subreddit, people post pregame and postgame threads for lineups, commiserating, videos and general discussion.

On Dec. 28, the person who usually posted the program thread (with charts for the lineups and how to watch) was unavailable. Someone who goes by the username yelpisforsnitches stepped in with a post subtitled “Using My Grandparents Computer aka Microsoft Paint Edition.” The image was a crude drawing of both logos with the game time and the team’s records.

A screenshot from Reddit of the Microsoft Paint drawing that started the trend among Lightning fans. []

The Lightning won that game, and the trend took off.

The win over Montreal was technically the second game of the what became the Lightning’s 10-game win streak, but it was the first out of the Christmas break so it felt like the start of something.

No one wanted to be responsible for the streak ending, so the MS Paint-themed pregame threads continued. The Lightning are on an 19-2-1 stretch since they started. Coincidence?

Related: Yanni Gourde scores his first goal in 35 games to give the Lightning an overtime win over the Penguins

The drawings have gotten more elaborate and spread beyond the pregame threads. They’ve added game day posters, celebration images, and one drawing from the Sharks game of someone saying “Cooper drives the boat, Chief. Tonight, we’re going sharking” to Steven Stamkos as Captain Quint from Jaws with the man at the helm blowing a large bubble gum bubble in the background, a reference to coach Jon Cooper chewing gum during games.

Fans of other teams have popped over to the Lightning subreddit to comment on the MS Paint drawings. They’ve become something of a legend within the Reddit hockey community.

The Redditor who posted the original drawing added a new one before Monday’s game declaring that if you’re “trying to beat a team blessed with MS Paint, you have no power here.”

A screenshot from Reddit of a drawing by the fan who started the MS Paint trend among Lightning fans. []