The Tampa Bay Lightning’s schedule opens up with a game against the Philadelphia Flyers. In 2015, Tampa Bay will be looking to build towards another trip to the Stanley Cup, where they fell short in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Lightning are young and will be contenders for years to come. Their first true test of the 2015 season will be four games in when they meet up with the Detroit Red Wings. Even though the Lightning reached the Stanley Cup, the Red Wings almost handed them a much earlier first round exit. The first round series went seven games with Tampa Bay needing to win games six and seven to advance. Detroit will certainly be looking for revenge early in the season. Just over a week later, Tampa Bay will be looking for their own revenge as they face the Blackhawks for the first time. The Stanley Cup Finals experience should do wonders for Tampa Bay as their youth showed against the more seasoned Blackhawks. Issues surrounding Patrick Kane could potentially put a damper on this matchup. After the game against Chicago, the Tampa Bay schedule hits a favorable patch against the lesser teams in the NHL, including two games against the woeful Buffalo Sabres in a three game span.
Graphic via lakingsinsider
Things get a little tougher for the Lightning in December as they have matchups with eastern conference contenders New York, Montreal, and Washington. Things do not get much easier after the start of the New Year. On January 21st, the Lightning start another tough stretch with another rematch with the Chicago Blackhawks. Luckily for Tampa Bay, things slow down again in March when they face most of their weaker competition. The Tampa Bay Lightning schedule is challenging overall. They have many stretches of games where they face top competition game in and game out. They do have a couple of easier stretches that they will have to take advantage, but overall it is no cake walk. Coming down the last stretch of the season, Tampa Bay will have two important games against the Rangers and the Canadiens. Last regular season, the Lightning came up just two and five points short of each of these teams in the standings, so they may have a lot to play for in their final three contests. It will be vital for Tampa Bay to perform better on the road in 2015-2016 as they struggled last season, just barely staying over the .500 mark. The home-road record was a major contrast and something they must improve on. Tampa Bay will be back in the mix for the Stanley Cup next season, but they will have to avoid long losing streaks throughout a difficult schedule.
Graphic via isportsweb