No goals in nine games for Marty St. Louis has the Tampa Bay Lightning right wing frustrated
The past nine games have been a bit of a tough stretch for Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Marty St. Louis with zero goals and a minus-5. He does have seven assists in that stretch, but for St. Louis that is not good enough.
And he's starting to feel the pressure, as well.
"It's definitely frustrating," he said. "I can score goals in this league and I haven't lately. You start getting antsy about it. You want to get that goal. You know if you get that next one, the net's going to feel bigger. Everything kind of flows after that. Just working hard to get the next one and still try not to affect my game too much and my decision-making. I'm trying to bring the puck to the net and shoot and especially against Ottawa, I thought I did that."
As for doing the things on the ice that will lead to success, St. Louis said, "eh."
"I feel right now, I'm just doing enough and that's not good enough. I have to bring more, and I thought the Ottawa game was a good building point for me, personally. I felt I attacked and went to the net with the puck. It's probably the best Ive felt mentally on the ice the past five or six games and I'm looking to carry that into tonight."
That's a good bet. St. Louis has 13 goals and 25 points in 31 career games versus the Canadiens. In 16 games at the Bell Centre, he has six goals and 16 points.
Coach Rick Tocchet said he isn't worried about the team's "fireplug."
"Marty is one of those guys, he does so much more," Tocchet said. "If he goes nine games, at least he plays good defense. He's set up some guys on some big goals (Steven Stamkos' goal in Ottawa). He's a fireplug. he keeps going out there hard. It's the guys that when they don't score they shut down other parts of their game that you can't have. Marty doesn't really do that."
Other stuff from the morning skate: Antero Niittymaki makes his third straight start in goal for the Lightning. ... Left wing Todd Fedoruk, who played just 5:06 and 7:34 the past two games, is a healthy scratch tonight against the Canadiens, which means Drew Miller, scratched against the Senators, is back in. ... How tough has this season been for Matt Smaby? The defenseman has yet to play in an NHL game this season. Now that the Lightning has lost rookie Victor Hedman (concussion) and Paul Ranger (personal), Smaby still is not in the lineup. Doesn't seem fair for a guy who played several months last season with a broken foot because the team didn't have many other options on the blue line. "Like I told him today, we had a good talk on the ice (after the morning skate), life's not fair right now for him. Should he be in? Yeah, he should be playing some games, but there are guys ahead of him, and we're winning some games and I didn't want to break up those six guys. But he does add something, and he said that he'll be ready to go, but I have to get him in the lineup eventually." Smaby called his situation "tough. ... I'm just waiting for an opportunity and taking advantage when it's there. The nice part is it's still early. That is what it is, but at the end of the day I want to play. I showed that I can play last year and make a difference in a game. It's frustrating because I know I can play." ... Center Vinny Lecavalier was hit during dinner Friday night with a rogue case of laryngitis that makes him sound as if he is again going through puberty. ... Right wing Alex Tanguay has scored against every NHL team except the Canadiens. ... With Hedman sidelined, Kurtis Foster gets back in the lineup after three straight scratches. What is Tocchet looking for? "More assertiveness. Not so much bone-crushing hits, but more assertiveness on five-on-five situations." ... How special is it to play in Montreal, especially on a Saturday night? "We had an optional morning skate and everyone is out there," Tocchet said. Actually, center Jeff Halpern took the option not to skate, but you get the idea. "It's Montreal. We know that guys like being here. It's a special feeling; obviously, the history. They sell out and the fans are loud. It's tough to be not ready for this type of hockey game." ... Left wing Ryan Malone leads the league in winning goals with four, and is one of only eight players in NHL history with four winners in a team's first five victories. What's the key? "Close games you always try to go out there and get the go-ahead goal or insurance goal, whatever the case may be. That's all it is, really. You're just trying to score at the right time, and I was just fortunate enough to have a couple go in at the right time, so hopefully keep it going and get five of six." ... Defenseman Lukas Krajicek had four points in four games last season against the Canadiens; a goal and three assists.