The city of Tampa is the lightning capital of the world.
Jon Cooper 2012/13-
Tampa Bay Times Forum 1996/97-
1992/93: With interest in Hockey picking up in the United States the NHL decides to add a team in one of the most unlikely place, Tampa, FL. Led by NHL legend Phil Esposito the city of Tampa had been lobbying actively for an NHL team hosting an exhibition game at the Suncoast Dome in 1990 that drew a record crowd of 25,581 to see Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins take on Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings. The Lightning would begin play with a people with a solid pedigree running the team as Phil Esposito was named club president and Terry Crisp who only a few years earlier led the Calgary Flames to a Stanley Cup was named coach. During the preseason the Lightning would get wide attention as goalie Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in an exhibition game as she stopped seven of nine shots in one period during a September 23rd exhibition game against the St. Louis Blues. What started out, as publicity stunt would become extended as Rheaume was signed to play for the Lightning's top minor league club in Atlanta. However, she would never be called up to play in a regular season game. Playing at the Expo Hall at the old Florida State Fairgrounds the Lightning would get off to a rousing start in the regular season, beating the defending Campbell Conference Champion Chicago Blackhawks 7-3 led by Chris Kontos, who netted 4 goals. The Lightning would comeback to earth a bit finishing last in the Norris Division with a 23-54-7 record, which was considerably better the their expansion partners the Ottawa Senators.
1993/94: After a season in tiny Expo Hall the Lightning sign a two year deal to play in the Suncoast Dome, which was renamed Thunderdome for the occasion. In their first game in the Thunderdome the Lightning would lose 2-0 to the expansion Florida Panthers as a record 27,227 fans watched. The Lightning would go on to draw a NHL record 805,901 fans over 41 games for an average of 19,656, despite finishing in last place in the Atlantic Division behind the expansion Panthers with a record of 30-43-11.
1994/95: The momentum of the Lightning establishing a large fan base is disrupted as the NHL season is delayed by a 4-month lockout that wipes out nearly half of the season. The Lighting would go on to finish the lockout shortened season by finishing in sixth place with a record of 17-28-3.
1995/96: The Lightning would take a huge step forward in their fourth season as a late surge gets them into the playoffs for the first time in franchise history as they beat on the defending Stanley Cup Champion New Jersey Devils for the final playoff spot with a record of 38-32-12. After splitting the first two games on the road against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Thunderdome was jam packed with 25,945 fans screaming as Alexander Selivanov scored the game winner in overtime to give the Lightning a 5-4 lead. However, the Flyers would recover and win the next three games to take the series in six games.
1996/97: After one year in a tiny Exhibition Center, and three years in a spacious converted baseball stadium, the Lightning finally get a true arena of their own as they open the Ice Palace on October 20th by beating the New York Rangers and Wayne Gretzky 5-3 in front of a sold out crowd of 19,500. However, the Lightning would be major disappointment on the ice as they finished in sixth place with a disappointing record of 32-40-10.
1997/98: With one of the Lightning's top scorers John Cullen missing the entire season while receiving chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a former of cancer, the Bolts would struggle immensely finishing in last place, as original Coach Terry Crisp is fired and eventually replaced by Jacques Demers who would also go on to replace Phil Esposito as General Manager as the Lightning post an NHL worst record of 17-55-10.
1998/99: John Cullen would make an inspirational return, by playing in four games, and retiring to become an assistant coach with the Lightning. However, not even the inspiration of Cullen could halt the Lightning's struggles as they finished in last place in the newly formed Southeast Division with a 19-54-9 record that was even worse then the expansion Nashville Predators.
1999/00: The Lightning continue to play lackluster hockey as they finish in fourth place with a miserable record of 19-54-9-7, as only two players Vincent Lecavalier (25) and Fredrik Modin (22) even manage as many as 20 goals.
2000/01: The Lightning continue to have no spark as they finish in last place for the third time in four years with a terrible record of 24-47-6-5, as the team only manages to have three players score more then 20 goals, as Brad Richards (21) joins Fredrik Modin (32) and Vincent Lecavalier (23).
2001/02: The Lightning celebrate their tenth anniversary by missing the playoffs for the ninth time in franchise history with a third place 27-40-11-4 record. However, along the way there were several glimmers of hope, as Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin had a stellar season with a 2.32 GAA, while shining at the All-Star Game. Nicknamed the Bulin wall, Khabibulin held the North American team scoreless in the 3rd period while the European team came back and won the game. However, voting for the All-Star MVP had been done early and Khabibulin was denied, even though he was clearly the game's MVP.
2002/03: The Lightning came out of the gates firing on all cylinders, as they were unbeaten in the first seven games on the way to a solid 7-1-2 record in October. In November the Lightning continued to play solid hockey as Captain Dave Andreychuk on November 23rd against the New Jersey Devils on the road became the 14th player in NHL history to reach the 600 goals scored milestone. In December and January the Lightning would struggle falling back to .500. However, in the second half the Lightning made a strong push as they battled the Washington Capitals down the strengths for the Southeast Division Title. The Lightning with the diminutive Martin St. Louis scoring a team high 37 goals would go on to beat out the Capitals by one point for first place with a solid record of 36-25-16-5. However, they would not be done with the Caps, as they had to face them in the first round of the playoffs. Things looked bleak for the Lightning as they dropped the first two games at home to the Capitals while being outscored 9-3. As the series shifted to Washington the Lightning caught a break as they won Game 3 in overtime as Vincent Lecavalier scored in overtime on a 5-on-3 power play. The Lighting would go on to even the series as Martin St. Louis scored twice in Game 4. St. Louis would provide the spark again in Game 5 back in Tamp as he scored the game winner midway through the 3rd period. The Lighting would go on to win the series in six games as St. Louis scored the game winner in triple overtime as Nickolai Khabibulin made 60 saves as the Lightning savored their first ever playoff series victory. However, in the second round the playoff tested New Jersey Devils would overwhelm the Lightning taking the series in five games. However, the Devils would need to win two of the games in overtime including Game 5 in triple overtime as Coach John Torterlla decided to start backup goalie John Grahame while facing elimination, who stopped 47 of 48 shots before being beaten by Grant Marshall midway through a third overtime period.
2003/04: The Lightning got off to a fast start as they finished the first month of the season unbeaten through their first seven games. The Lightning continued their solid play into November holding an 11-2-2-1 record on the 22nd. However over the next six weeks they would struggle falling out of first place in the Southeast Division as they struggled through December winning just four times. During the slump Coach John Tortorella tried a number of ways to recharge the Lightning benching Goalie Nickolai Khabibulin while calling out star Vincent Lecavalier, as they held a mediocre 16-15-6-1 record on January 6th. The moves would work as both played better and the Lightning caught fire in the second half losing just five games in regulation the rest of the season as the move seemed to spur on Lecavalier the rest of the season as he scored 32 goals while dishing out 34 assists. However doing even better was Tampa's mighty might spark plug Martin St. Louis who won the leagues scoring title with 35 goals and 56 assists earning him the Hart Trophy as the NHL MVP, as the Lightning posted a Eastern Conference best record of 46-21-8-6. Winning the best record would also earn John Tortorella the Jack Adams Award as Coach of the Year. In the playoffs the Lightning faced the New York Islanders in the first round, after exchanging 3-0 wins at the St. Pete Times Forum the Lightning struck down the Islanders on the road winning Game 3 and Game 4 as Khabibulin stopped 61 shots in the two games. The Lightning would close the series out in Game 5 as Martin St. Louis scored netted the 3-2 winner in overtime. In the 2nd round the Lightning faced the tradition rich Montreal Canadiens, taking the first 2 games at home in dominant fashion winning both games 4-0 and 3-1. As the series shifted to Montreal the Lightning continued to roll taking a commanding 3-0 series lead as Brad Richards scored in overtime for a 4-3 win. The Lightning would go on to complete the rare sweep of the Habs with a 3-1 win to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Facing the Philadelphia Flyers in the conference finals the Lightning got off to a fast start taking the opener 3-1. However in Game 2 the Lightning struggled, badly losing 6-2. As the series shifted to Philadelphia the Lightning needed to rebound quickly and they did winning 4-1. However the Flyers would rebound to take Game 4 evening the series at two games apiece. Back in Tampa the Lightning would take back control of the series with a 4-2 win as Brad Richards scored twice. With a chance to close the series out in Game 6 in Philadelphia the Lightning and Flyers battled back and forth as the game went to overtime tied 4-4. In overtime the Flyers would score right away forcing a decisive seventh game at the St. Pete Times Forum. In Game 7 the Lightning would jump out to a 2-0 lead. However the Flyers cut it to 2-1 midway through the 2nd period from there they would rely on Nickolai Khabibulin to hold the lead as he stopped a total of 31 shots as the Lightning held on to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.
2004 Stanley Cup Finals: In the Stanley Cup Finals against the upstart Calgary Flames the Lightning got off to a rocky start losing dropping the first game 4-1. The Lightning would rebound in Game 2 with a 4-1 win of their own. As the series shifted to Calgary the Lightning were thrown into an impossible situation as the Flames hosted the first Stanley Cup Finals game in Canada in a decade winning 3-0 as an overflow crowd at the Saddledome was loud through out the game. Facing the prospect of falling behind 3-1 the Lightning scored first in Game 4 on an early first period goal by Brad Richards from there it was up to Khabibulin as he stopped all 29 shots as the Lightning evened the series with a 1-0 win. With the series shifting back to Tampa the Lightning and Flames continued to battle in tough tight games as Game 5 went to overtime tied 2-2. In overtime the Flames would quiet the crowd at the St. Pete Times Forum winning on an Oleg Saprykin goal. Facing elimination the Lightning went back to Calgary facing elimination in front of a rowdy crowd. The game would go back and forth with Brad Richard scoring twice in the 2nd period as the second straight game went to overtime tied 2-2. With the crowd roaring with every play the Lightning were in goal away from losing the cup as both teams were kept off the board in the first overtime. In the second overtime it would not take the Lightning long to get the game winner as Martin St. Louis scored 33 seconds into double overtime to send the series back to Tampa for Game 7. In Game 7 the hockey world was focused on Tampa-St. Pete as the Lightning jumped out to a 2-0 lead on two goals by Ruslan Fedotenko. Trying to hold on the Flames made it 2-1 on a power play goal by Craig Conway in the 3rd period. From there the Flames threw everything they could at the net but Khabibulin stopped every shot as the Tampa Bay Lightning held on to a 2-1 win to win the Stanley Cup, as Brad Richards who scored 12 goals and had 14 assists won the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP.
2004/05: The Lightning would not be able to defend their Stanley Cup Championship as the entire season would be cancelled by a lock out.
2005/06: Emerging from the lock out the Lightning had the Stanley Cup but they were nowhere near the team that won it as Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin was not re-signed, while Captain Dave Andreychuk was 42 and a shadow of his former self. With John Grahame getting a bulk of the time in the nets the Lightning managed a strong October but hit a wall in November as they lost seven of eight games to start the month as the managed a mediocre record of 19-17-3 heading in to January. Eventually the Lightning would seek a change as Andreychuk was released ending a solid Hall of Fame Career. While Andreychuk was released Hart Trophy winner Martin St. Louis was unable to repeat his MVP performance as the Lightning stayed on the playoff bubble all season long. Eventually the Lightning would squeak into the playoffs as the eighth seed with a 43-336 record. However, the playoffs would be just a cameo appearance for the Lightning as they were quickly eliminated by the Ottawa Senators in five games.
2006/07: After a disappointing season, the Lightning traded Fredrik Modin and Fredrik Norrena, to the Columbus Blue Jackets for goalie Marc Denis. However, Denis struggled, as the Lightning got off to a mediocre 18-19-2 start. In January with Johan Holmqvist seeing more time in goal the Lightning, began to turn their season around winning nine games. The Lightning would also win nine games in February as they climbed up the Southeast Division standings. One play responsible for the Lightning's turnaround was Vincent Lecavalier who set a new franchise scoring record at 105 points, while leading the NHL in goals at 52. The Lightning would fall short in their late challenge for the division title as they qualified seventh in the Eastern Conference Playoffs with a record of 44-33-5. In the first round the Lightning faced off against the New Jersey Devils. After losing Game 1, the Lightning won two straight games 3-2, and had a chance to take a 3-1 series lead as Game 4 went to overtime in Tampa. However, the Devils would win the game on a goal by Scott Gomez to even the series. After being shutout on the road in Game 5, the Lightning came home needing a win just to stay alive. The Devils would get off to a fast start leading 3-1 early in the 2nd Period. The Lightning would cut the lead to one midway through the second, but in the last 30 minutes they could not beat Devils goalie Martin Brodeur as their season ended with a 3-2 loss.
2007/08: Before the season started the Lightning lost their captain, Tim Taylor to condition called hip dysplasia, a condition that required season ending surgery, which would eventually lead to his retirement. When the season started the Lightning were able to count on their big three Brad Richards, Vincent Lecavalier, and Martin St. Louis, but got little help from the supporting cast, as they struggled from the start of the season, posting a 10-13-2 record through the season's first two months. Things would not get better in December as the Lightning slipped down the standings in the Eastern Conference, winning just two games during a 13-game stretch. Stuck in last place the Lightning decided to focus on the future, and were among the league's big sellers at the trade deadline; sending Vaclav Prospal to the Philadelphia Flyers for Alexandre Picard and a conditional draft pick. However, the biggest deal came when they traded Brad Richards and starting Goalie Johan Holmqvist to the Dallas Stars for r Mike Smith, and forwards Jussi Jokinen and Jeff Halpern, as well as a 4th round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Following the deadline deals the Lightning would win just five more games the rest of the season as they posted an awful 31-42-9 record. The lost season would see an end to the John Tortorella era, as the Coach who brought the Stanley Cup to Tampa Bay was fired and replaced by Barry Melrose.
2008/09: Finishing with the worst record in the NHL enabled the Lightning to get the top pick in the draft, which they used on Steven Stamkos. Beginning the season in Prague against the New York Rangers, the Barry Melrose era got off to a horrible start, as the Lightning lost both games. Returning to North America, things did not get any better, as the Lightning were winless in their first five games. However, Melrose clashed with players and management and was fired on November 14th, with the Lightning holding a 5-7-4 record. The Lightning would continue to struggle after dismissing Melrose as they managed to win just one of their first 12 games under new Coach Rick Tocchet. The Lightning would go on to spend much of the season at the bottom of the Southeast Division as they posted a terrible 24-40-18 record.
2009/10: As the Lightning continued to build for the future it was a year of transition in front office, as the team was sold to Boston investment banker Jeffrey Vinik. On the ice the team showed significant signs of improvement early as Steven Stamkos emerged as a superstar scoring 51 goals to share the Maurice Richard Trophy with Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins as the leading goal scorer in the NHL. The Lightning would stay in the playoff race most of the season, as they held a 26-21-11 record on February 9th. However, they would lose their final three games before the Olympic Break. The struggles would continue in March as they posted a 5-10-1 record that would see them eliminated from the postseason as April began. The Lightning would go on to finish with a record of 34-36-12, finishing fourth in the Southeast Division. Following, the season more changes were made, as legendary Detroit Red Wings Captain Steve Yzerman became the team's new General Manager, replacing Brian Lawton. Meanwhile, Coach Rick Tocchet was also fired and replaced by Guy Boucher.
2010/11: On the ice to improve the team, Steve Yzerman acquired Goalie Dan Ellis, and brought back Pavel Kubina in two different off-season signings, as the Lightning were one of the busiest teams. When the season began, it appeared the moves paid off as the Lightning got off to a strong start, posting a 7-2-1 in October. In November, things would be tougher for the Lightning, as they only won one for their first seven games. Things got even worse, when Captain Vincent LeCavalier to a thumb injury. LeCavalier would miss a month, but the Lightning played well in his absence, posting a 9-4-2 record. The Lightning would go into the New Year with a record of 22-11-5. With Goalie Mike Smith injured, and Dan Ellis not performing to expectations, the Lightning acquired Dwayne Roloson from the New York Islanders on January 1st for Ty Wishart. In his first start for Tampa, Roloson stopped all 34 shots as the Lightning beat the Washington Capitals on the road 1-0 in overtime. The move would help the Lightning post a solid 9-4-0 record in January. The Lightning would play well into February, but as the month came to a close the Lightning began to falter, suffering a three game losing streak. Things would get even rougher in March as the Lightning endured a stretch where they won just two games in a 12 game stretch. However, they would finish the season strong, winning seven of their last eight games as they reached the playoffs as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference with a record of 46-25-11. Helping to guide the way, was Martin St. Louis who finished second in the league in scoring with 31 goals and 68 assists. In the playoffs the Lightning would face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. After losing the series opener 3-0, the Lightning got a big performance from Eric Brewer and Simon Gagne who each had three points as the Lightning won 5-1 to even the series. However, as the series shifted to Tampa, the Lightning failed to take advantage losing both Games 3 and 4 by scores of 3-2. However, as the series returned to Pittsburgh, with the Penguins needing just one to advance, the Lightning found their offense, as Steve Stamkos, Pavel Kubina, and Simon Gagne each scored two goals as the Lightning won 8-2. The Lightning started the third period of Game 6, with a 2-1 lead only to see Jordan Staal tie the game. However, Steve Downie scored just 67 seconds later to give the Lightning a 3-2 lead as they went on to win the game 4-2 to send the series to a seventh game. In Game 7 in Pittsburgh the Lightning turned to Goalie Dwayne Roloson to save the day, as Sean Bergenheim netted the only goal. Roloson would stop all 36 shots he faced as the Lightning completed the comeback from down 3-1, with a 1-0 win in Game 7 to advance to the second round. Facing the top seed Washington Capitals, the Lightning continued their momentum, winning the opener 4-2. In Game 2, the Lightning would win in Washington again 3-2, as Vincent LeCavalier scored twice, including the overtime game winner. As the series shifted to Tampa, the Lightning got third period goals by Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone to take a commanding 3-0 series lead with a 4-3 win. The Lightning would go on to complete the sweep with a 5-3 win in Game 4. In the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Bruins, the Lightning would continue to roll, winning the opener in Boston 5-2. Despite a four point game from Vincent LeCavalier, the Bruins would even the series with a 6-5 win in Game 2. As the series shifted to Tampa, the goalies took over as the Bruins won 2-0 in Game 3. The Lightning would bounce back to even the series, with a 5-3 win in Game 4. After a 3-1 loss in Game 5, the Lightning faced elimination in Game 6 at home. With Martin St. Louis leading the way with two goals and an assist, the Lightning would force a seventh game with a 5-4 win. Like Game 7 against the Penguins in the opening round, the game would be lacking in goals as neither team had found the back of the net for the first two periods. However, the Bruins finally solved Dwayne Roloson with 7:33 left on a goal by Nathan Horton. It would stand up as the Bruins advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals.
2011/12: After missing the Stanley Cup Finals by one game, the Lightning started the season their 20th in the NHL with a new look. The blue and white colors and simplified logo was aid to match the red and white tradition of the Detroit Red Wings, who Team President spent more than 20 years serving as captain with. The Lightning started the season with a solid 5-1 road win over the Carolina Hurricanes, but came home on a four game losing streak. The streak would continue as they lost to the Florida Panthers 7-4. The Lightning seemed to suffer a letdown most of the first half as they went into January holding a mediocre 17-17-3 record, despite a three game winning streak to close out 2011. Struggles in goal were a main reason for the Lightning holding a poor record, as Mike Smith was allowed to sign with the Phoenix Coyotes, while Dwayne Roloson could not match his postseason matchup, posting a 3.66 GAA before being benched in favor of Mathieu Garon. The Lightning would start 2012, with seven straight losses as they plunged further and further out of playoff contention. As the trade deadline approached and the playoffs out of reach, the Lightning would begin re-tooling for the next season as they made several small trades for youth. The biggest of these deals would see Pavel Kubina sent to the Philadelphia Flyers for Jon Kalinski and two draft picks, while Steve Downie was sent to the Colorado Avalanche for Kyle Quincey. The Lightning would go on to finish the season with a record of 38-36-8, finishing third in the Southeast Division.
2012/13: Coming off a disappointing season, in which they failed to return to the playoffs the Lightning were chomping at the bit to get back on the ice, as the season was delayed by a three month lockout. When the season began on January 19th, the Lightning looked sharp doubling up the Washington Capitals 6-3, as they won six of their first seven games. However, the Lightning would quickly cool off dropping their next six games, as they continued to struggle to find consistent goaltending and defense. This was made all the more frustrating as Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos were ranked first and second in the NHL in scoring, with St. Louis winning his second Art Ross Trophy with 60 points, while Stamkos who had 57 points, also finished second in the NHL in goals with 29. However, due to the poor defense the Lightning could not translate their offense into wins, as they held a 13-18-1 record on March 24th, which led to the firing of Coach Guy Boucher. Boucer would be replaced by AHL Coach Jon Cooper; the Lightning would also make a move to address their goaltending struggles, acquiring Brian Bishop from the Ottawa Senators for Cory Conacher. The moves would not salvage the season, as the Lightning missed the playoffs again with a record of 18-26-4. Changes would continue in the off-season as the Lightning released longtime Captain Vincent Lecavalier.
First Game Played October 7, 1992
401 Channelside Drive
Tampa, FL 33602
Phone: (813) 301-6500
Terry Crisp 1992/93-1997/98
Roger Paterson 1997/98
Jacques Demers 1997/98-1998/99
Steve Ludzik 1999/00-2000/01
John Tortorella 2000/01-2007/08
Barry Melrose 2008/09
Rick Tocchet 2008/09-2009/10
Guy Boucher 2010/11-2012/13
Jon Cooper 2012/13-Present
Expo Hall 1992/93
Thunder Dome 1993/94-1995/96
Tampa Bay Times Forum* 96/97-P
*-Known as Ice Palace 1996/97-2001/02,
St. Pete Times Forum 2002-2011.
Stanley Cup Champions: (1)
Stanley Cup Finals: (1)
Conference Finals: (2)
Division Champions: (2)
Playoff Appearences: (6)
1996, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2011
Hall of Famers: (2)
Dino Cicarelli RW 1996/97-1997/98
Dennis Savard C 1993/94-1994/95
Jack Adams Award (Top Coach): (1)
2004 John Tortorella
Calder Trophy (Top Rookie):
Masterton Trophy (Dedication): (1)
1999 John Cullen C
Lady Byng (Gentlemanly Play): (4)
2004 Brad Richards C
2010 Martin St. Louis RW
2011 Martin St. Louis RW
2013 Martin St. Louis RW
Selke Trophy (Defensive Fwd):
Norris Trophy (Defenseman):
Vezina Trophy (Top Goalie):
Hart Trophy (NHL MVP): (1)
2004 Martin St. Louis RW
Retired Numbers: (1)
99 Wayne Gretzky (Retired by NHL)
No Captain 1992/93-1994/95
Paul Ysebaert 1995/96-1997/98
Mikeal Renberg 1997/98
Rob Zamuner 1998/99
Bill Houlder 1999/00
Chris Gratton 1999/00
Vincent Lecavalier 1999/00-2000/01
No Captain 2001/02
Dave Andreychuk 2002/03-2005/06
Tim Taylor 2006/07-2007/08
Vincent Lecavalier 2008/09-2012/13
Martin St. Louis 2013/14
Steven Stamkos 2013/14-Present
All-Star Games Hosted: (1)
All-Star Game MVP:
Conn Smythe (Playoff MVP): (1)
2004 Brad Richards C
2003/04 (46-22-8-6, 106 pts)
1997/98 (17-55-10, 44 pts)
On The Air:
WFLA (970 AM)
Rick Peckham and Bobby Taylor-TV; Dave Andreychuk, Chirs Dingman, Phil Esposito and Dave Mishkin-Radio
©MMXIV Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Hockey League. This site is not affiliated with the Tampa Bay Lightning or the NHL. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page.
Page created on Page created on May 25, 2003. Last updated on March 24, 2014 at 11:10 pm ET.
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