Connect with us


Be the Thunder- Through Thick and Thin

Important update for Tampa Bay Lightning fans who have been hiding under a rock or trapped on a desert island the past couple of weeks- the Bolts are in a slump. And it’s a bad slump. It’s affecting every player on the team. Since March 15th, the team has a record of two wins, five regulation losses, and three overtime losses. Seven points out of a possible 20 in their last 10 games. Of the two wins, only one was a well-played game by the Lightning. The other was simply a masterpiece from goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, while his teammates let the Detroit Red Wings run amok against him. But as fans, we cannot turn on this team now. We need to realize that now, more than ever, our beloved boys in blue need us to be The Thunder.

What Does it Mean to Be The Thunder?

When we think of thunder, we tend to think of a loud roar. And of course, we think of lightning. In nature, a lightning flash and the associated thunder occur at almost the same time in a thunderstorm. A person on the ground sees the lightning flash before hearing the thunder because light at a speed of around 300,000,000 meters per second travels much faster than sound which moves at 340 meters per second. In other words, to create a beautiful storm, we need our thunder and lightning to occur pretty much simultaneously. For Bolts fans, we have a team of superstars to make up the Lightning with their flashes or greatness. But the thunder? That needs to come from us as fans. We need to create the loud roar to accompany our Lightning. And we need to do this not just through the good times when our boys are winning championships but also through the bad times. When they struggle. When nothing seems to go right.

The Progression of the Slump

The Lightning have lost five straight games for the first time since March of 2014. Nine years. Since that time, the Bolts have made it to at least game seven of the Conference Final six times, including going to the Stanley Cup Final four times, and winning it twice. Clearly, our fan base has become accustomed to success. But the past couple of weeks, we have not seen this success. What we have seen has been an abysmal display. On Saturday afternoon, the Lightning faced off against the Buffalo Sabres hoping to end their three-game losing skid. The Bolts looked bad, particularly in the second period. As a result, Coach Jon Cooper benched his top three players- Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Brayden Point- for the entire period. Even when the Lightning fought back to make it a close game, Cooper did not waiver. A lesser coach might have put his big three back out in the closing minutes in attempt to tie the game and get a point. But Cooper chose to sacrifice the opportunity of points in order to send a message. It was a bold move. A move many of us, as fans, were sure would pay dividends. We were excited for Sunday’s game in Carolina. We couldn’t wait to see our boys blaze onto the ice and show their coach that his message had been received loud and clear.

From Bad to Worse

But what actually happened could not have been more different. We saw a completely lackluster team of Bolts on the ice. They managed just four shots through the entire opening frame, yielding a total of 13 to the Carolina Hurricanes, resulting in two goals. Okay. That was disappointing. And although the second period had been bad for the Lightning of late, we thought they’d regroup and come out stronger in the second. Once again, we were mistaken. This time, the Bolts made some 2022-2023 season history! They became the first team in the NHL all season to go an entire period without a single shot on goal. By the end of the second period, they were trailing 4-0. Carolina had as many goals through 2 periods as the Lightning had shots.

What is Wrong With the Lightning?

Across the Tampa Bay area, everyone is asking the same question. What is wrong with our Bolts? And none of can answer that question. We do not know what is going on. We know that no one on the team is playing well. Vasilevskiy had one great game and has made some excellent saves over this stretch. But he has also let in some uncharacteristically bad goals. Brayden Point had a seven-game goal scoring streak but even he has not looked particularly sharp for most of the games. The penalty kill gave up four goals to Carolina yesterday on five power plays. The defense has been non-existent as the opposition gets multiple breakaways and odd-man rushes several times each period. Every facet of the game seems off for the Lightning.

How is this happening? How is every aspect of their game hurting so much? It’s not as though they’ve suddenly become a bad team or lost their talent. Kucherov is still among the league leaders in points this season and Point is one of the league leaders in goals. Stamkos is averaging over a point per game. Vasileskiy is still widely considered the best goalie in the game. Cooper is often touted as the best coach in the league. Hedman is consistently one of the league’s top defensemen. So how is it all falling apart? It’s not a question we, as fans, can answer. We can’t know what is going on inside their heads.

All We Can Do is Be The Thunder

We might not be able to figure out what’s wrong with our Bolts. But that’s okay. It is not our job to figure out what’s wrong. But there is something we can do. We can continue to show the team our support. They have earned that from us over these past eight years. We have supported them through some amazing moments over the years. And now, we must support them during a rough patch.

The Lightning have struggled on the road this season. But they have been stellar at home, including having managed at least a point in 17 of their last 18 home games. The players have acknowledged that they feed off the energy of their home crowd. Tomorrow night, they start a four-game homestand. Bolts fans, don’t let your team down now when they need you the most! Let’s go out and remind the boys that we love and appreciate them and that we believe in them.

This rough patch will end. Hopefully sooner rather than later. But in the meantime, all we can do is be the best thunder we can be and trust that in time, the team will once again be the best Lightning they can be.



Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *