No. 10: Tampa Bay Lightning, 16/1
Record: 21-17-4, 46 points
The 2015 opponent for the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final has been floating around a lot this season. They have been up and down all year, never really being able to hit a solid stretch of games, as their longest winning streak this season has been three. Because of this inability to consistently put up points, they are now fighting for the second wild-card spot in the East. However, I do agree with Vegas with these odds because of the firepower they have on their lineup that can go off at any time.
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Nikita Kucherov is the leading point earner with 33, and Steven Stamkos is the leading scorer with 18 goals. These two players are not even on the same line either, so this team can go two lines deep no problem. Last season’s playoff phenom, Tyler Johnson, has not been able to match his postseason performance, but then again not many players can. He had 13 goals and 10 assists through 26 playoff games last season, and only has four goals and eight assists through 29 games so far this regular season. He has battled some injuries, but if he is able to stay healthy, look for Johnson to put the team on his back and carry them into the playoffs with his raw talent.
By no means is this the Lightning team from last season that took second place in its division and rolled through the East to give the ‘Hawks a run for their money, but this is still a good hockey team. This is a team that, in my opinion, could give the Canadiens a run for their money in a series come playoff time. They almost have too much raw talent not to be doing well.
Next: No. 9: Boston Bruins