I haven’t run into many hockey fans in western Canada that are talking about the NHL’s overall leaders, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
There may be a reason for that. They’re the Tampa Bay Lightning.
There are obvious reasons for Tampa Bay’s success this season. Jon Cooper is a terrific coach. Then there is the outright talent. For nearly a decade now, Steve Stamkos has been the leader on and off the ice. Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point have been lights out offensively. Andrei Vasilveskiy is in the top five in goals against average.
However, as I was watching the Lightning play at home in front of an announced 19,000 fans vs. the Rangers on Monday, I thought about the age-old benefits some teams receive from being out of the spotlight.
Behind the Buccaneers and the Rays, the Lightning may play second fiddle, which may be why they are first in the NHL’s overall standings.