Tampa Bay Lightning is an ice hockey team based in Tampa, Florida. “the Bolts”, as they nickname goes, was founded 1992 and they played their home games at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. Tampa Bay Lightning is a member of Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.
After late 1980s’ NHL expand announcement, business men group, leading by two former NHL hall of famers – Phil and Tony Esposito, won expansion franchise 1990 and named the team Tampa Bay Lighting after Tampa Bay’s unofficial status as the “Lighting Capital of North America”. Tampa Bay Lightning started to play in the NHL in 1992-93 season.
Tampa Bay Lighting have been up and down team – First ten seasons (1992-2002) they did qualify to the NHL playoffs only once, but then in season 2002-03 they reached the Conference Semifinals (lost to New Jersey Devils 1-4) and on season 2003-04, they won the Stanley Cup (vs. Calgary Flames – 4-3). Tampa Bay Lightning also reached the Stanley Cup Finals on season 2014-15, but the Chicago Blackhawks was a better team and won 4-2. Tampa Bay Lighting won Atlantic Division in 2017-18 & 2018-19, but did not reach the finals.
On 12.3.2020, Tampa Bay has only played 70 games, when the NHL decided to suspend the season due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. On 1.8.2020, NHL started again with 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs including 24 teams – Playoffs were played in two closed hubs: Toronto as the Eastern Conference hub, and Edmonton for the Western Conference.
Tampa Bay started playoffs against the Columbus Blue Jackets. First game went to fifth overtime period and became the fourth-longest NHL game in history – Brayden Point scored a winning goal to the Lightning. Tampa Bay won the Blue Jackets 4-1 and in the second round they faced the Boston Bruins – the Lightning won 4-1 and moved against the Edmonton Oilers in the conference finals. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Lightning went against the New York Islanders. Tampa Bay went smoothly to the Stanley Cup Finals winning 4-2.
In the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals, the Lightning battled against the Dallas Stars. Tampa Bay Lightning won their second Stanley Cup Championship in their history after winning the game six 2-0.
Tampa Bay Lightning’s Owners and Staff
Currently, the General Manager of Tampa Bay Lightning is Julien Brisbebois. The current head coach Joel Quenneville was appointed to his position in 2013. The team is owned by company called Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment. Tampa Bay Lightning have two minor league affiliates – Syracuse Crunch in the AHL league and Orlando Solar Bears in the ECHL league.
Martin St.Louis – slow progress to the top
As a relatively short player (173cm) – Martin St.Louis was not give big hope to create successful NHL-career. After three years in Calgary Flames organization (1997-2000) his contract was bought out and that made him unrestricted free agent. Few teams expressed interest in St.Louis and he chose Tampa Bay Lightning. That was right choice and Martin St.Louis spend 13 season with Bolts. He wins one Stanley Cup (2004), three Lady Byng Memorial Trophies (most gentlemanly player) (2009-10, 2010-11, 2012-13), one Hart Memorial Trophy (most valuable player) (2003-2004) and two Art Ross Trophies (leading point scorer) (2003-04, 2012-13). Martin St.Louis played 972 games and made 953 point to the Bolts.
Vincent Lecavalier – the youngest captain in NHL history
Vincent Lecavalier drafted first overall by Tampa Bay Lightning in the 1998 NHL draft. On 1.3.2000 he was named captain of team. Lecavalier was only 19 years old then and he became the youngest captain in NHL history. Everything not went well and he was stripped of the captaincy before 2001-02 season (Lecavalier was renamed captain of Tampa Bay Lightning 18.9.2008). Lecavalier played 14 seasons with the Bolts and won one Stanley Cup. He played 1037 games and made 874 points to the Bolts.
Stamkos, Kucherov, Vasilevskiy – current faces of the Bolts
Steven Stamkos is current captain of Tampa Bay Lightning. After he was chosen first overall pick by Tampa Bay 2008, he has played whole career in Tampa. Stamkos has been key player of the Bolts many years. He has won Maurice Richard Trophy (NHL best goal scorer) twice (2010,2012). Nikita Kucherov was selected 58th overall in the 2011 NHL draft. That was a good steal from Tampa Bay and Kucherov is nowadays one of the best wingers in the NHL. Season 2018-19 was huge to Kucherov – he made 128 points and won three trophies: Art Ross Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award and Hart Memorial Trophy. Andrei Vasilevskiy is considered to be one of the best goalies in the NHL. 2019-20 Vezina Trophy winner was a key part of the team what comes to winning the Stanley Cup.