Tampa Bay Lightning's 5 Most Impressive Individual Performances in 2013-14

Eric Steitz@esteitz16Analyst IIIMarch 23, 2014

Tampa Bay Lightning's 5 Most Impressive Individual Performances in 2013-14

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning are poised for a postseason appearance thanks in part to a few outstanding individual performances this season. The Bolts have been led by a solid rookie class and some super efforts from big names to carry the team up the Eastern Conference.

    The Lightning have picked up points in their last six games and have scored three goals or more in each of the last eight games. Tampa Bay has gone from a wild-card spot back to second in the Atlantic Division.

    With just 11 games left in the regular season, it’s time to take a look back at some of the best individual performances by Lightning players this season.

5. Filppula Gets Bolts Back on Track

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    It wasn’t long ago that the Bolts had slipped into a wild-card spot in the East. Tampa Bay was struggling mightily coming out of the Olympic break. That’s when one of the team’s leaders stepped up and put a stop to the skid.

    Facing in-state rival Florida, Valtteri Filppula decided enough was enough. The Finnish center went 13-for-19 in the faceoff circle and put up three assists including a helper on Steven Stamkos’ game winner.

    His individual performance helped get the Lightning back on track and near the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

4. Two of a Kind

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    With all of the offensive power the Lightning have had in franchise history, it seems odd that Tyler Johnson accomplished something only one other Lightning rookie has done. On Jan. 25 against Colorado, he netted his first career hat trick.

    His three-goal performance is just the second hat trick from a Lightning rookie in franchise history. Even more impressive, he had just three shots on goal that game.

    His outing helped the Bolts snag two points against one of the better teams in the Western Conference.

3. Naturally Good

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    Hat tricks come in a variety of ways throughout the season, but one steals more attention than others—the natural hat trick. Even when the performer is someone who can put up video game-like numbers, a natural hat trick is a big deal.

    Steven Stamkos put on that show on March 19 against division-rival Toronto. With the Lightning down 2-1 in the first period, "Stammer" rallied with three straight goals to put the team up 4-2. As a result, Tampa Bay cruised to a 5-3 win and jumped Toronto in the division standings.

    Goal scoring is one of Stamkos’ natural abilities. He put that on display in a big way in this game.

2. Fourth Time Is the Charm

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    It’s hard to argue that the biggest individual offensive performance for the Lightning this season came from a player who no longer wears Tampa Bay blue. Forget the emotions from the end of the Martin St. Louis era—his performance against the San Jose Sharks is one to remember.

    Immediately after being left off the initial Team Canada Olympic roster, St. Louis decided he’d prove people wrong. On Jan. 18, he put up a four-goal performance against the Sharks.

    He had a hat trick in the first period. He had four goals in 22 minutes. He dominated the game. 

    Unfortunately, like his era in Tampa Bay, things didn’t have a storybook ending. Tampa Bay lost 5-4, but his offensive effort makes this game hard to forget.

1. 31 and Counting

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    Goaltending has always been the Achilles' heel for the Lightning. The goaltending tandem that started the season has been surprisingly one-sided. Ben Bishop has solidified the crease for Tampa Bay and now sits alone atop the franchise record books. 

    Against New Jersey on March 15, he shut out the New Jersey Devils for his 31st win of the season. That win eclipsed the previous record of 30 set by Nikolai Khabibulin in 2002-03. 

    Bishop now has 34 of the team’s 39 wins. His big performance against New Jersey was part of a five-game winning streak that has put the Bolts back into second place in the Atlantic Division.