The Tampa Bay Lightning have had one of the best seasons of not just the 21st Century, but in the NHL altogether. While their next game is Saturday against the Washington Capitals, the Lightning are poised to break the both the wins record (which is held by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings with a total of 62. Tampa has 59 with five games left) and the points record (set by the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens with a total of 132. Tampa can tie that mark if they win the remaining five games on their schedule.
However the Lightning are in good company as there have been other teams in the past who’ve shown how dominant they can be for the regular season. The 2009-2010 Washington Capitals were the first non-Original Six team to put up over 120 points in a regular season. The Chicago Blackhawks had an incredible 2012-13 season, but the lockout that occurred during that season might put them lower on some analysts’ lists. There have been multiple seasons by the Edmonton Oilers (1983-84, 1985-86), Detroit Red Wings (1995-96, 2005-06), Montreal Canadiens (1943-44, 1944-45, 1972-73, 1975-76, 1976-77, 1977-78) and Boston Bruins (1929-1930, 1938-39, 1970-71).
One thing is assured: Championships are never assured for these sensational regular season teams. Within the last 30 years, especially for the Detroit Red Wings, high octane teams like the 1995-96 Red Wings and the 2009-10 Washington Capitals were eliminated within the first two rounds of the playoffs. While those teams failed, the Tampa Bay Lightning have had 2 games played within five days, enough time to rest for the upcoming postseason and keep going.
Tampa is a smarter team especially with Jon Cooper as the Coach and Team Captain Steven Stamkos getting better and pushing the team into playoff-mode since February. This doesn’t seem to be like a team that will be out early, but history has taught fans before that failing to learn from the past will allow repetition.