Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

All falling into place for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos

TAMPA — Maybe it has been Steven Stamkos' return to center, his natural and preferred position.

Or maybe it has the sense of relief after GM Steve Yzerman declared Feb. 15 that the Lightning captain would not be dealt at Monday's trade deadline.

Either way, Stamkos is on a roll, having scored in four consecutive games for the first time this season thanks to Tuesday's first-period goal, his team-leading 26th this season. He switched from right wing to center before the Feb. 16 game against the Sharks and has clicked with LW Alex Killorn and RW Ryan Callahan.

"When I got moved back, it's definitely more comfortable position for me," Stamkos said. "But at the same time the correlation with the success is just competing and playing well and playing good defensively, and like I said, I don't know if that has anything to do with it, if it's just a coincidence, but I feel like my game has gotten a little better over this past couple weeks and for me just trying to do the right things on the ice."

Three goals have come from right around the crease, including Tuesday's rebound at the right post. The other was Sunday's winning power-play goal, a snipe from the slot. Stamkos has six streaks longer than this, his most seven in a row in February/March 2010.

Stamkos, in the final year of his contract, said Yzerman's statement helped in not having to deal with as many questions on his uncertain status.

"I've just been trying to focus on playing hard and playing the right way and just getting back to the things I've seen in my game that made me successful in the past," Stamkos said. "And it's been working."

Garrison close: Whether the team can acquire a defenseman by Monday's trade deadline remains to be seen.

But Tampa Bay will likely get one of its own top-four defenseman back around then, with Jason Garrison saying he's a week away from returning. Garrison has been out since Feb. 8 with a lower body injury, expected to put him out 3-5 weeks.

After skating on his own Monday and with the team Tuesday, Garrison indicated it's possible he'll be ready around Monday's three-week mark.

"That's what I'm going for," Garrison said. "The timeline seems about right so far. I felt pretty good after the first skate. I think with the progress that I've made and the way I felt (Tuesday), if it keeps going that way, it should be more closer to the three than the five."

Still out: Though RW Nikita Kucherov participated in Tuesday's morning skate, he did not play for the second consecutive game because of a lower body injury. Kucherov is still considered day to day.

Lining up: G Andrei Vasilevskiy started. C Valtteri Filppula played in his 700th career game. D Matt Taormina, called up Monday, was a healthy scratch. … The Capitals, Red Wings, Blackhawks, Panthers, Blue Jackets and Predators had reps at Tuesday's game. TSN's Bob McKenzie reports there are easily 10-plus teams interested in suspended RW Jonathan Drouin.

Contact Joe Smith at joesmith@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

All falling into place for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos 02/23/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 23, 2016 11:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs mull options at right tackle as Dotson awaits MRI

    Bucs

    Right tackle Demar Dotson, the Bucs' most experienced offensive lineman, will undergo an MRI on his injured groin Saturday, three weeks before the season opener.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneer Demar Dotson, offensive tackle, brought his coffee and breakfast to One Buc Place, 7/31/15, as he reported to training camp.
  2. For starters: Rays vs. Mariners, with another new look

    Blogs

    Having lost 11 of their last 14 games and dropping to a season-worst four games under .500 at 60-64, the Rays continue to search for ways to get out of their extended offensive slump.

    And with the M's starting LHP Ariel Miranda today, that means another new look to the lineup, which includes having struggling …

  3. Chasing 125: Bucs hope to hit rushing goal more often

    Bucs

    Ever so often, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter pulls back the curtain a bit and shares some of the stats that matter to him most as a coach.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
  4. Bucs-Jaguars was NFL's lowest-rated ESPN game since 2005

    Bucs

    It is just the preseason, and it is the Jaguars, but Thursday night's Bucs-Jags preseason game earned a 1.6 rating on ESPN, which is the lowest-rated preseason game (excluding NFL Network) in 12 years, according to Sports Media Watch.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, left, talks with coach Dirk Koetter during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
  5. Roberto Aguayo, Jonathan Drouin, Tim Beckham are coming for revenge

    Bucs

    Forget the Three Tenors.

    Make it the Three Terrors.

    The 2017 Unfulfilled Expectations Tour is about to hit Tampa Bay.

    From left, former Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo, ex-Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin and former Rays infielder Tim Beckham. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times; DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times; Getty Images]