Tampa Bay Lightning: Atlantic Division Title Hopes In Their Hands
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins are tied atop the Atlantic Division with 110 points heading into the regular season’s final days. Each team has two games remaining, meaning a tie is possible. If that occurs, the first tiebreaker of regulation plus overtime wins (ROW) will be used. Currently, the Lightning holds a one-game edge there (47-46).
Keeping that in mind, it’s safe to say the Lightning control their own destiny. Win out in regulation or overtime and they will be Atlantic Division champions. However, one shootout victory coupled with two non-shootout wins by the Bruins gives Boston the division title based upon the second tiebreaker (head-to-head matchups).
First things first though. Both teams must win their remaining games to have a shot at raising an Atlantic Division Champions banner to the rafters come October. For the Lightning, that means wins versus Buffalo (04/06) and at Carolina (04/07). The Bruins, meanwhile, must beat the Ottawa Senators (04/07) and Florida Panthers (04/08).
Yes, the ultimate goal is lifting the Stanley Cup and both teams clinched postseason berths weeks ago. In saying that, a division title this year guarantees home-ice advantage through the conference finals. That could be huge, especially considering the Bruins and Lightning might meet in the second round.
There’s also a pride factor. When attending games, it has to be nice seeing banners celebrating the team’s accomplishments. For Lightning fans, the last division championship came in 2003-04′. Since then, there has been two Eastern Conference Champion banners (03-04 & 14-15′) and a Stanley Cup Champion banner (03-04′).
Will the Tampa Bay Lightning add to their banner collection this season? Unknown as it may be, the final two games take on even more meaning. Win and you are likely the Atlantic Division champion.