tbl.commentator: Dana O'Shea
While it may not seem like it to some, many Tampa Bay Lightning players are on pace for career offensive seasons and several players have already surpassed the number of goals they scored during the 2003-04 Stanley Cup Championship season.
Defenseman Dan Boyle, who scored nine goals during the 2003-04 NHL season, already has 14 goals and 48 points this season. Left wing Ruslan Fedotenko has also increased his goal total this season with a career-high 23 - six more than 2003-04. Center Vincent Lecavalier
has already matched his 2003-04 goal total with 32, and with 10 games remaining he's likely to add to that number as he helps the Lightning reach the playoffs again this season. He needs one more goal to tie his career best of 33.
Veteran players such as Vaclav Prospal and Fredrik Modin are also having strong seasons, with Modin sitting at 29 goals and Prospal second on the team in points with 72. Prospal, re-acquired from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, has already set a career best with 23 goals this season. Defenseman Pavel Kubina has also set a career mark for points in a season with 37.
Don't forget center Brad Richards, whose 79 points leads the team in scoring. Richards has already set a new franchise record for assists in a season with 58, and his 79 points equals his career best.
With the late addition of Ryan Craig, who made his NHL debut on December 17, Tampa Bay has received another offensive boost. Craig has shown a knack for scoring big goals this season, and his 14 tallies make him the first Lightning rookie to score more than 10 goals in a season since Richards scored 21 in 2000-01. Craig has also helped out with 11 assists for a total of 25 points.
Tampa Bay scored 250 goals during their Stanley Cup Championship season, and this season they have scored 214 goals with 10 games remaining. There is a lot on the line as the Bolts thunder toward the playoffs and continued offensive success could be the key to lifting the Lightning back into the postseason.