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Bolts Starting to Gel? Written by Laci Bloomers - February 21st, 2009

The week before last the Tampa Bay Lightning has dropped their 5th straight game, freefalling them into the cellar of the Eastern Conference.  The fact that 2 of those games were 5-1 blowouts and the other 3 were 4-3 losses caused the club's GM to have a few words with his players.

It also led to the club trading forward Rob Neidermayer to the Minnesota Wild, with Daymond Langkow returning to the Lightning.

Looks like Bobby Holik got the message loud and clear, and is prepared to lead the club right back into contention.  The Lightning have picked up points in 6 straight games, with 5 wins and only a wild overtime loss to Carolina blemishing that streak.

Holik scored a gaol and had a helper today as the Bolts dropped the Wild 4-3 in overtime today.  In the 6 game streak, Holik has 3 goals and 5 helpers, and is a +5.

This is a perfect time for the club to string some wins together, as they play a crucial 5 games in 5 days this week.  They have used the 6 game streak to pull within 1 solitary point of the 8th and final playoff spot in the East, marking the closest they have been all season to getting over the hump.  That maybe sounds more impressive than it is, as there are 6 teams within 2 points of each other taking up spots 8 through 13 in the conference.

This weeks crazy slate includes games against Colorado, Vancouver, Edmonton, Boston and Buffalo.  Two of the 3 Western opponents have better records than the Lightning, while the other, Colorado, sits dead last in the CMHL.  The Bolts are trying to catch the 5th place Bruins, who lead them by 6 points, while the Sabres sit in the pack of six, trailing the Bolts by a single point.

This week will test the character of this Tampa Bay team.  A good week could move them over that 8th place hump and even provide some separation, while a bad week could drop them down a team or 4 in the standings.

Lets hope that Mr. Holik and his crew can rise to the challenge.

Holik as a young member of the Hartford Whalers

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