Thanks to Mother Nature’s relentless pounding of upstate New York, the Lightning got an unexpected extension to their Christmas break.

Lightning Emerge From Christmas Break With Three Home Games In Four Days

Thanks to Mother Nature’s relentless pounding of upstate New York, the Lightning got an unexpected extension to their Christmas break.
Tampa Bay Lightning Practice, Credit: TBL

TAMPA, Fla. – Thanks to Mother Nature’s relentless pounding of upstate New York, the Lightning got an unexpected extension to their Christmas break.

The team was scheduled to depart Detroit for Buffalo following last Wednesday night’s 7-4 loss to the Red Wings. With a forecast of dangerous winter conditions, which came to fruition, the Lightning and Sabres postponed their matchup until March 4. Hence, a four-day break became six.

“Anytime that you can get a little time off in this league, players will readily take it,” said coach Jon Cooper, following the loss to Detroit.

The Lightning were able to get their legs back beneath them during a Tuesday evening practice at Amalie Arena. They would also like to get back into the win column Wednesday night against Montreal in what will be the first of three home games in four days. The Rangers are in town Thursday night and the Bolts close the 2022 portion of their schedule with a late afternoon (5:00) date with Arizona on Saturday.

In the news: Lightning’s Steven Stamkos Becomes 95th NHL Player To Reach 1,000-Point Milestone

The Lightning enter Wednesday evening’s contest against the Canadiens having lost their last two. In addition to the setback in Detroit, they had a 4-1 loss at Toronto last Tuesday night. The losses on consecutive nights to a pair of fellow Atlantic Division residents marked a rare double-dip of regulation defeats in back-to-back sets. In fact, Tampa Bay earned at least one point in all previous 15 back-to-back sets since the start of last season.

While the two losses dropped the Lightning’s record to 7-5-0 against division foes, they resume play Wednesday night third in the Atlantic with 41 points (20-11-1), six points ahead of the fourth-place Red Wings. The Bolts’ .641 points percentage is fifth best in the Eastern Conference.

The Lightning certainly were not happy with losing their last two games prior to the break. However, in the larger picture, things looked pretty good going into a longer-than-expected layoff.

“We are 20-11, and if we can go our next 31 games like that, I will be happy with that,” said Cooper.

It could be a memorable homestand for Lighting fans as Steven Stamkos resumes his pursuit of 500 career goals. The captain enters the Montreal game with 497. After scoring three goals in four games, he has gone without a goal in his last four outings, though he has four assists in that stretch.

Stamkos has 22 goals in 44 career games against the Canadiens, 18 goals in 37 games against the Rangers, and in 18 games versus the Coyotes he has nine goals.

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