By Jack Patel
Four Atlantic Division teams made the playoffs but only two Atlantic Division teams had 50 wins. This is hard to believe for a division that at one point had three teams leading the entire NHL in points.
With the playoffs beginning tonight, two teams have set themselves apart from the rest of the field. But do they have what it takes to win glory? Lets take a look at what the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens need to do in order to raise the Stanley Cup
Tampa Bay Lightning: Proving they can skate with the bestEmbed from Getty Images
If there is one thing the Lightning love doing, its scoring goals. The team leads the league with a whopping 3.2 goals per game. Tampa Bay also has five players above 50 points on the season including four above 60. It’s hard to believe that almost the same exact team scored just 10 goals in their first round exit last year.
Obviously this is a young Tampa Bay team but they went ice cold when it meant most last year. C Tyler Johnson just returned from injury and hopes to finish off his stellar 3rd season back in form. But can he and the rest of the Tampa Bay snipers continue their torrid goal scoring pace in the playoffs?
Another player who will need to step up is goalie Ben Bishop. Bishop went down with injury at the end of the regular season last year draining the confidence of such a young squad. Despite a strong season this year, Bishop still has absolutely no playoff experience. Teams have made a knack for relying on their goalie during this time of year but is Bishop up for the task? He will likely have to duel with players like G Carey Price and G Tuukka Rask, both of whom have plenty of experience to take over a series.
Montreal Canadiens: Staying HealthyEmbed from Getty Images
The Canadiens have had the fortune of limited injuries throughout the majority of the year. It looks as though that streak of good fortune has come to an end. Leading scorer LW Max Pacioretty recently went down with an upper body issue and it is unclear when he will return. Last year in the playoffs, injuries to top players also plagued the Canadiens.
G Carey Price missed the majority of the Eastern Conference finals last year, dooming the surprise team of the playoffs last year. With such a strong run last year, it looks as though Price, P.K. Subban and the rest of the team ready to yet again make some noise. But will they be healthy enough to do it when the time comes.