Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Feisty Tampa Bay Lightning wing Steve Downie shows off his hockey skills

Steve Downie, right, skates toward his teammates after Marty St. Louis’ third-period goal in Game 6, on which he assisted.


Steve Downie, right, skates toward his teammates after Marty St. Louis’ third-period goal in Game 6, on which he assisted.

BOSTON — Lightning right wing Steve Downie's physical play and grit garner a lot of attention, especially from referees.

But what often goes overlooked is Downie's playmaking ability, which was showcased during Wednesday's 5-4 win in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final against the Bruins.

Downie showed poise and patience in taking the puck toward the slot during a power play in the second period before slipping it back to Teddy Purcell, whose one-timer from the left circle beat Tim Thomas.

For Downie's assist on a Marty St. Louis goal in the third period, the wing sold to nearly everyone, including Thomas, that he was going to shoot on a two-on-one. He held the puck until the last second before sliding a cross-crease pass to St. Louis.

"It's not new to us. We know he's a good hockey player," St. Louis said. "I think sometimes his skill level gets overshadowed with maybe his reputation, his physical play, his grittiness. Obviously, he spends his fair amount of time in the penalty box, so you forget he's got the tools and the skill level to make those plays."

Downie, who has two goals and 12 assists this postseason, will always bring a high battle level. He's willing to take on anyone, no matter how big (see: Bruins 6-foot-9 captain Zdeno Chara). And he has racked up more than 170 penalty minutes in each of the past two seasons.

But Downie is also a top-six forward who has shown his ability to score, including 22 goals and 24 assists last season. He played on the top line with St. Louis and Steven Stamkos at one point this season, which, shortened by injury, included 10 goals and 22 assists in 57 games. Not to mention, he's a key force on the second power-play unit.

"His greatest attribute is … his smarts with the puck," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "That's why we're here focusing on that with him rather than his physicality. Obviously, he can always throw the body here and there, and he hits extremely hard.

"But to me, he's always been a terrific hockey mind. And if he sticks to that, he's terrific out there."

Feisty Tampa Bay Lightning wing Steve Downie shows off his hockey skills 05/26/11 [Last modified: Thursday, May 26, 2011 11:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31


    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win


    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi admitted he probably should have gone on the DL sooner than late July for the back stiffness that was keeping him from throwing the ball where he wanted to. He has since found an impressive groove, with another strong outing Saturday.

  4. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-N.C. State


    RB Cam Akers still looks like a former high school quarterback at times. His first two touches (30 yards) were special, but the freshman juked instead of powering ahead on his third (an unsuccessful third-and-1 rush). That's why the Seminoles are easing him in, as they did with Dalvin Cook three years ago.

    Running back Cam Akers carries for a first down during the third quarter as FSU eases the freshman into the college game.
  5. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.