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Power Rankings
The Lightning always seem to put up a clunker of a game right after a winning streak, but it still looks like they've put their rough start behind them. The Jonathan Drouin situation remains unresolved, though, and will be a big storyline ahead of the deadline.
Wins in eight of their last nine have the Lightning looking like the contender so many expected them to be this year. Suddenly they even look like the Capitals' biggest threat in an Eastern Conference showdown.
The Lightning fell just a win shy of tying their franchise record for longest winning streak. Tampa Bay has been in the news more frequently for off-ice business, but on the ice things have been going a lot better than they had earlier this season.
A five-game winning streak has the defending Eastern Conference champs looking like the team everyone expected them to be. Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov have combined for 38 goals this season and both look to be just getting started.
The Lightning still haven't really opened it up offensively, but they're starting to string wins together. They're just one point back in the wild-card race after winning three of their last four. They have a crucial homestand coming up starting this weekend.
It's been a somewhat dramatic season for the Lightning. The latest issue is top young player Jonathan Drouin has formally requested a trade, putting GM Steve Yzerman in a tough spot. Meanwhile, the team is just two points out of a playoff spot.
With one more game left in December, the Lightning can be mostly pleased with their performance. They are 7-4-1 in the last month of 2015 and appear to be closing in on their expected form. Now they just have to get and stay healthy.
Tampa Bay is heating up. The Bolts have won eight of their last 13 games. They've been dealing with so many injuries, the Stamkos contract distraction and everything else, but they're starting to play catch-up finally.
Reports of a difference of opinion between Steven Stamkos and head coach Jon Cooper on where Stamkos should be playing can't be comforting to Lightning fans. Stamkos wants to play center and he may have a point as he is in the midst of a six-game goal drought.
A disastrous performance on special teams is partially to blame for the Lightning's surprising tough start. They rank in the lower-third in the league in power play and penalty killing.
Preseason Power Rankings
After leading the NHL in goals last season, the Lightning are back at it to start the 2015-16 campaign. Tampa Bay outscored opponents 13-6 en route to a 3-0-0 start and look as solid as ever.
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