The Tampa Bay Lightning have officially owned the 2018-2019 NHL regular season.
After playing just 73 games, the Tampa Bay Lightning have won the President’s Trophy, an honor given to the team with the most points in the regular season.
The “most points” refers to the points in the standings, not goals. They lead the league with 116 points and a record of 56-13-4. This means that even if another team were to sweep all of their remaining games and Tampa were to lose all of those games, Tampa would still have more points. I hope you properly understand how ridiculous that is.
Historically, this is the second lowest number of games needed to clinch the trophy. The only team to do this faster was the 1995-1996 Detroit Red Wings. Of the top 5 teams quickest to the coveted prize, only one has gone on to win a Stanley Cup so far. That prestige belongs to the 2001-2002 Detroit Red Wings squad. Time will tell if this year’s winners make it two. Overall, 8 of the 33 President’s Trophy winners have won a Stanley Cup that same year. The President’s Trophy has only been awarded since the 1985-1986 season.
Tampa Bay has had an unearthly year this year.
They lead the league by about 30 goals in the goals scored category with 287 in 73 games. Nikita Kucherov has broken his own all-time points record with 117 points thus far. That is a club record as well. Andrei Vasilevskiy is second in starting goaltenders league wide for save percentage. Only Ben Bishop edges him out by .003 percentage points and Bishop has seen about 300 less shots than Vasilevskiy. For the sake of this statistic, a starting goalie is a goaltender who has played 40+ games this regular season.
And of course, there is Captain Steven Stamkos. In his eleventh season with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Stamkos also set the club record for most goals on March 18. He recorded his 384th goal this past game and cemented his career in Tampa Bay as a leader and hero of the city.
Calgary also clinched a play off berth this week, the night before Tampa clinched theirs. No other team in the Eastern Conference has thus far clinched a playoff berth.