The Tampa Bay Lightning saw a lot of change take place during the 2013 offseason that will affect the team’s play in the 2013-14 season. Tampa not only missed the playoffs last season, it came dangerously close to finishing at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. In order for the Tampa Bay Lightning to avoid another disappointing season, there are three things that must happen during the 2013-14 campaign. Tampa needs a foundation of success to work from and these are the events that can make that success happen.
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Key #1: Martin St. Louis must be a strong leader.
With Vincent Lecavalier gone to Philadelphia, Martin St. Louis becomes the old man in the locker room that everyone will be looking to for leadership. St. Louis is more than prepared to take on his enhanced leadership role as he has been a key figure in the Lightning organization for years. If the Lightning is going to be able to get past the loss of players such as Lecavalier, then St. Louis will need to rally the team and provide the kind of leadership that the team needs in critical situations. It is a role he is used to and it is a role he is more than capable of fulfilling.
Key #2: Steven Stamkos needs to keep scoring.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will be hurting for offense in 2013-14, and that is why Steven Stamkos’ role as the team’s top scorer becomes so much more important. Stamkos put up 60 goals in 2011-12 and 29 goals in the shortened 2012-13 season. He is a scoring machine that does his best to keep the Lightning in as many games as possible. Stamkos also had 28 assists in 2012-13 which was one of the better assists totals he has had in his career. For the Lightning to compete in 2013-14, Stamkos will need to keep scoring the goals that keep the team close in tight games.
Key #3: It is time for Ben Bishop to make his stand.
Goalie Ben Bishop was brought to Tampa Bay from Ottawa to be the Lightning’s number one goaltender. The Lightning also acquired Anders Lindback from the Nashville Predators to split time with Bishop. But the Lightning is looking for Bishop to take control of the goaltending situation and be the top guy. Bishop did not show much promise in the 2012-13 shortened season, but the Lightning are looking past last season and focusing on the here and now. It is time for Ben Bishop to stand up and become the starting goalie that he has shown that he can be. If Bishop falters and Lindback cannot pick up the slack, then it will be an extremely long 2013-14 season for the Tampa Bay Lightning and its fans.
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