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Bolts Could Clinch Playoff Berth By End Of Tuesday

by Missy Zielinski / Tampa Bay Lightning

If the postseason were to begin today the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens would be facing each other in the first round of the 2013-14 Stanley Cup playoffs.

The scenario makes Tuesday's game against the Canadiens a perfect preview of what we could see in two short weeks.

The Bolts are 2-0-1 against the Canadiens this season with all three games between the clubs determined by a score of 2-1 in extra time.

Currently Montreal has a two-point advantage over Tampa Bay in the standings, but the Lightning have played one less game.


Boasting an 8-4-4 record with 20 points during the month of March, the Bolts had their third-most successful March in franchise history.

The only time the Lightning recorded better numbers in March was during the team's Stanley Cup run in 2003-04 and the year prior.

The Bolts also recorded an 11-game point streak going 7-0-4 during that span, which was their longest point streak since an 18-game point streak during again, the Stanley Cup season.


As of Monday the Lightning's magic number to clinch a playoff berth is four. That means if the Lightning win Tuesday and the Washington Capitals lose in regulation, the Bolts would clinch their first playoff berth since the 2010-11 season.

The magic number is determined by points gained by the Bolts or points lost by the best non-playoff team in the Eastern Conference.

Washington is currently the best non-playoff team in the Eastern Conference, sitting in the ninth-place spot with 81 points. They host the Dallas Stars at Verizon Center at 7 p.m. Tuesday.


If things stay status quo until the end of the regular season the Lightning will face the Canadiens, meaning right now the two clubs are battling for home ice advantage.

The Bolts' best way to earn a first-round start at the Tampa Bay Times Forum is to win second place in the Atlantic Division outright.

If Tampa Bay and Montreal are tied in points at the end of the regular season, the tie breaker is ROW (regulation plus overtime wins).

Right now the Canadiens' ROW is 37 and the Lightning's is 34. ROW was put in place to reward teams who win in regulation/overtime, rather than those teams winning games via the shootout.


Valtteri Filppula's 12-game point streak (five goals, 11 assists) is a career-best and a Bolts-best since Steven Stamkos' 18-game point streak during the 2009-10 campaign.

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