Ondrej Palat's pluses far outweigh his minuses
The plus/minus stat is a tricky one because it does not distinguish specifically between good play and bad. All it measures is if a player is on the ice when a goal is scored either for or against his team.
That said, it is worth noting that left wing Ondrej Palat leads all rookie forwards at plus-22. He is plus-7 in his past four games and has not had a minus game since Dec. 21 at Carolina, one of only nine minus games he has had all season.
"For me, it's one of the most important stats," Palat said before Thursday's game with the Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. "You don't want to give up goals."
It hasn't hurt that Palat, who has 11 goals, 29 points in 53 games plays on a pretty successful offensive line with center Tyler Johnson (plus-15) and right wing Marty St. Louis (plus-18).
As Palat said, "We're playing most of the time in the offensive zone. It works out great. If we're playing in the offensive zone and we're scoring goals, that's why we're a plus. We're not going to be a minus."
But coach Jon Cooper said the reasons go a bit deeper.
"When you play the game the right way and you're on the right side of pucks and you let your legs do the work and not your stick, eventually things are going to pay off for you," Cooper said, and added, "Players like playing with him. He's one of those players who doesn't jump out in front of the camera, nor does he want to, and that just adds to the aura of Ondrej Palat. He's just a humble guy. He goes out there and goes about his business and the guys respect that. You play the game the right way and good things happen, and that's what's going on right now."
Other stuff from the morning skate: Ben Bishop gets the start in net against his former team which he has beaten twice this season. ... It seems forward Tom Pyatt and defenseman Keith Aulie will be scratched. ... For all the talk about injuries this season -- at one point the team had nine players hurt -- the Lightning at this time has only one player out, Steven Stamkos. "Now, you've got a couple more luxuries," Cooper said. "It's not a lineup by necessity. You can structure your lineup different. Sometimes you're going to play a smaller, faster team and your lineup might be different as opposed to laying a big, strong, bruising team." ... Interesting take from Bishop on warm-ups after Edmonton's Ben Scrivens admitted he had an "awful" warm-up before his record 59-save shutout Wednesday against the Sharks. "Sometimes when you get a bad warm-up you almost keep a little more focus because you didn't feel good," Bishop said, and added. "But it's one of those things you don't put too much emphasis into it. Me, it's more just tracking the puck, getting warmed up, getting a good feel for the ice and your skates. The more you play you put less emphasis on the warm-up. You know it's all about the game."