Tampa Bay Lightning 2013-14 Season: Thanks For The Memories
An empty Tampa Bay Times Forum is all that remains of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s whirlwind season. No ice in the center waiting for a morning skate. No herds of reporters hoping for a sound bite from the coach or captain. No echo of the fog horn or cheers from an exciting game. All that remains, filling the empty walkways and seats are the memories, the unforgettable moments and our gratitude for a well fought season. Looking back on the last seven months, the Tampa Bay Lightning have truly made this a season to remember.
The home opener. The entire team got to show off their talents in this electrifying 7-2 victory over the Florida Panthers. With goals by Martin St. Louis, Ondrej Palat two goals from Valtteri Filppula and a hat trick from Steven Stamkos, who could ask for a better start? The future looked bright for the Lightning.
The injury. On November 11, 2013, with the Bolts battling the Bruins, the entire Lightning community’s heart skipped a beat when Steven Stamkos barreled into the post, attempted to stand and fell straight to the ice. NHL fans held their breath as they watched him toss and turn on the ice, writhing in pain. After being escorted to the locker room, it was revealed he had suffered a broken right tibia and would need to miss a majority of the Bolts season.
The post-Gasparilla game. Those fortunate enough to make it to the game against the Colorado Avalanche got to witness what looked like the last of the Lightning’s fight. With a hat trick by Tyler Johnson and goals by Valtteri Filppula and Mark Barberio, the Tampa Bay won 5-2. The Bolts would go on to win the just three of their next 13 games.
The revival. After the dust settled from Martin St. Louis being traded to the New York Rangers in exchange for Ryan Callahan, the Lightning took only a few games to get back on their feet and fight to keep their playoff dreams alive. Winning five straight games against the Panthers, Canucks, Devils, Maple Leafs and Senators was exactly what they needed.
The shootout. Tampa Bay fans will never forget when the Lightning beat the New York Islanders in a 13 round shootout. With an already emotional game at hand, goalies Ben Bishop and Evgeni Nabokov battled shot for shot for 13 rounds until Tampa Bay’s own Sami Salo scored the winning goal.
Lindy’s amazing week. Goalie Anders Lindback put up his best numbers as a Bolt, posting a shutout, a 0.67 goals against average and a .975 save percentage leading the way to securing home ice in the first round of the playoffs.
The elimination. Though the Lightning got swept 4-0 in the series against the Montreal Canadiens, they still walked away with the spotlight shining on them, with rookies Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson named finalists for the Calder Trophy and goaltender Ben Bishop named a Venzina Trophy finalist.
Each loss, each win, each injury and comeback were parts of the emotional ride of a memorable season. We can only hope next season brings the nail biting excitement and emotional highs that this season brought. Here’s to next season. Here’s to the next exciting run and most importantly, here’s to The Tampa Bay Lightning! Thank you for an amazing season.
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