Fast forward to today. Almost halfway through the season, and the Lightning find themselves 3 points out of a playoff spot. Stamkos, who can normally be counted on for 50+ goals and a healthy amount of assists, is only on pace for 35 goals and 60 points, his lowest full-season total since his rookie year. Johnson returned from injury this week, but he's had a rough season. Palat has been out for three weeks, and has struggled as well. No one has really stepped up to carry the load, either, as Stamkos and Kucherov are the only Lightning players who have reached even the 20-point mark.
With their offense fizzling, what's kept them in the playoff race has been their goaltending. Ben Bishop has carried the load for the Lightning and excelled, posting a 2.06 GAA- second in the league among goalies with 20+ games played. It's one of the things that give Tampa hope that they can get back into the playoffs and make another deep run. If their young talent can get back on track, they'll be a tough match-up for the Wild tonight.