The Tampa Bay Lightning are proving to the world of hockey that they have what it takes to win.
As the season rolls into its second month, the Lightning are the talk of the NHL. Their start to the season has been nothing short of phenomenal.
Two years ago, Lightning Coach John Tortorella had a vision for his team to one day become one of the toughest teams in the NHL.
Now his vision is finally starting to materialize.
So far, the Lightning have stormed their way into second place in the Southeast Division, giving the Lightning the best record in the NHL so far.
The Atlanta Thrashers are one point ahead of the Lightning in the standings, but the Lightning have played four less games than the Thrashers.
Unlike previous years, the Lightning are off to a remarkable start. They are finally receiving respect from hockey fans, other teams and league administrators.
Previously the team was viewed as one of the laughing stocks of the NHL, but now, more than ever, the Lightning are smiling about the respect they are receiving.
Last year, the Lightning finished the season as the Southeast Division Champions for the first time in team history.
Also, for the first time in eight years the Lightning played in a playoff game.
Even though they were eliminated by the New Jersey Devils in the second round, the team began quickly preparing for a better season in the next year.
It is clear from their torrid beginning that the Lightning have weathered the storm.
Now is their time to shine and they are making the most of that chance.
This year the Lightning have aspirations to go further than the second-round and hope to play in the Stanley Cup Finals.
With a fan base steadily growing year after year and players confident and wanting to succeed, the Lightning are one team the NHL and fans alike can look forward to watching improve as the season continues.
Christina Hordge, 18, is a freshman broadcast journalism student from Tampa. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.