Should the Lightning be Frightening?

(Rhyming up a storm today)

This recent FGSB graphic nicely sums up my feelings on how the Flyers (and those who align themselves with the orange and black) should be feeling about the rest of the East these days.  Yes, it's largely hubris, but this is the first time in who knows how long that the Flyers were tops in the conference this late in the season, so I intend to enjoy it.

Despite the broad brush used to paint the competition in the aforelinked FGSB graphic, it should be acknowledged that some Eastern foes are worth probably sweating over more than others.  Especially the one in second place who has already beaten the Flyers three times this season.

Tonight, the Flyers could be seasonally swept by a Southeast team for the second year in a row (Atlanta had that honor in '09-'10), which is just strange. 

Everything about the Lightning is strange, really.  Tampa has the league's best player, a goalie older than Eric Desjardins, and an even goal differential currently only one better than 10th place Buffalo's.

It seems pretty safe to say that the Flyers and Lightning will both win their divisions this year, which means that they wouldn't meet in the playoffs until the conference finals.  And that's no foregone conclusion, to be sure.  The Lightning haven't won a playoff series in six years, and have only even appeared in the post-season twice during that stretch. 

New GM Steve Yzerman has made some incredible upgrades to the franchise, to be sure, but are they the team the Flyers should be most scared of on the road back to the finals?

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