TAMPA, FL. – The Tampa Bay Lightning are trying to win their third consecutive Stanley Cup. Bolts TV Color Analyst Brian Engblom won two Stanley Cups as a player and believes there is one thing this Lightning team must do in order to win it all again.
“What the Bolts have done, the consistency factor they’ve had over the past couple of seasons and leading to winning the cup, their ability to really grab the game back when it’s getting away from you,” Engblom said to me in a sit-down interview.
“I think that would be the number one thing we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks, where when the game gets away, it stays away a little long. Like the Detroit game the other night. You got a hot goalie. So the Bolts had a really good 1st period. They had a poor second period and Detroit scored 3 goals in like 4 minutes. That’s what I’m talking about. The Lightning do a good job in the third period, but the goaltender continues to be great.”
It’s extremely hard to win a Stanley Cup let alone back-to-back and now the Bolts are trying to three-peat which hasn’t been done since the Islanders won four consecutive championships from 1980 to 1983. The Bolts have played more games than any team in the NHL in the past 2 seasons. But Engblom doesn’t buy into the theory that the Lightning is a tired team.
“So yes as far as the number of games go, but no,” Engblom said. They (Lightning)played 70 games one year. They played 56 games the other. Not 83 games. I think it doesn’t matter if you are the NY Islanders back in the ’80s trying to go for their three-peat, it’s more about will than skill.”
Engblom says the key is not to listen to anyone that tells the Lightning players they’ve played more games than anyone else these past 2 seasons because then they’ll mentally start to believe they’re wearing down.
One more thing. Stars like Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman, and Andrei Vasilevsky not only have to play well, they have to leave it all on the ice.
“You have to be able to empty the tank in the playoffs, especially your top guys,” Engblom said. “I’ve always used the term, your top players are inside-out by the time they’re all finished. If they’re willing to be inside-out again, they have a great chance for a three-peat.”
The Bolts clinched a spot in the playoffs for their fifth season in a row and await their opening-round opponent.