Stars’ G Ben Bishop returns to Amalie Arena tonight for the first time since his last home game as a Lightning, which came before last season’s trade deadline.
The teacher vs. the pupil (Lightning G Andrei Vasilevskiy) is one story line.
Here is another: The Stars’ top power play unit against the Lightning penalty kill.
The Lightning has not allowed a power play goal in six-straight games and has killed off 15 straight penalties.
The Stars enters tonight’s game with an NHL-high 30.2 percent success rate with the man advantage.
“I think it’s a great challenge for us,” F Alex Killorn said. “Whenever there’s a hot team coming in you want to see how you stack up. This is a great power play. They have so many different tools out there.”
The Stars went 0-for-2 on Tuesday at Florida, marking only the fifth time in 18 games they did not score on the power play.
“You hope to not take penalties and we did a pretty good job out west (on the recent three-game road trip),” coach Jon Cooper said. “We didn’t take a whole ton of penalties, but you’re just playing with fire. You take four or five or six penalties, eventually a good power play is going to get you, I don’t care how good your PK is. So, we have to stay out of the box, because they have a lot of talent in the other dressing room, there.”
D John Klingberg has eight power play points/seven assists. F Tyler Seguin leads the Stars with five power play goals. F Jamie Benn has four.
Cooper said he could throw out a bunch of X’s and O’s on how to have a successful penalty kill, but said, it comes down to one constant.
“Ultimately, your goaltender is making saves for you at the key times, and that’s what’s happening,” Cooper said. “The one thing is I think we’ve limited our time in our zone. Our down-ice pressure, our natural zone (pressure) is much, much better. So instead of a team maybe having a minute and a half in your zone, maybe they’re getting only 40 seconds, then your goalie is there to make saves. It kind of helps you out when you make teams spend less time there.”
“That’s a myth,” C Steven Stamkos said.
Said Cooper, “That’s a myth. That’s dispelled if we win tonight, and if we don’t win then it will always come back to, ‘Well there was he trip.’ Everybody has to play a game after a road trip. I don’t know what the numbers are, but I’m pretty sure you don’t lose every single one of those games. But I’ll remember that tonight of things don’t go well.”
“You got to find a way, and when you have 23 guys and everybody’s vying for a spot, your past credentials are only going to get you so far. You got to earn your way and he’s clearly earned his way here the last few weeks.”
Brown tweeted a photo of himself wearing a “We are Seminole Heights” T-shirt. Brown, along with Rays pitcher Chris Archer and former Gator football player and WWE wrestler Titus O’Neil participated in trick or treat in Seminole Heights on Halloween.