Sunday, June 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Five flashbacks: Jonathan Drouin's best plays this season (w/poll)

"Just instincts."

That's how Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin explained his dazzling shift and setup in Saturday's 4-1 win in Winnipeg. Well, there was a little more to it than that. Drouin skated circles around the Jets before setting up center Brayden Point for the tone-setting first goal. Twitter was buzzing with GIFs and videos of the one-man show, including the #nowords.

Said coach Jon Cooper: "(Drouin) can do some magical things."

Think of the top-10 highlight-reel plays from the Lightning season, and a handful may be from Drouin. The Times ranked Drouin's top plays this year. Scroll to the bottom of the story to vote for your favorite.

1. The shift (Feb. 11 at Winnipeg)

 

The play: This tops the list because it's the complete package. It started with the backcheck. Drouin darted behind the Winnipeg net to deliver a hit on Jets' forward Mark Scheifele, then picked up speed to strip Blake Wheeler in the left circle. Then Drouin's speed took over. He blew by two Jets, including Scheifele, before dropping a perfect pass at the back post to Brayden Point, who was positioned in the crease.

The call: "This is all about Jonathan Drouin. Drouin dipping and diving all over the place, and he's got all the Jets worried because of that speed and change of direction. Watch this cute little pass on the shortside. His timing is absolutely perfect." — Brian Engblom, Fox Sports Sun

2. The cutback (Jan. 16 at Kings)

 

The play: Few players could pull off this kind of cutback at that speed. Drouin, skating up to the Kings blueline, stunned Kings' Tanner Pearson with a stop and spin move. With Pearson falling to the ice, Drouin slipped into the right circle and thread a cross-zone pass through traffic to Tyler Johnson for a one-timer.

The call: "What an absolutely brilliant move. That was pretty amazing. (Kings' Tanner Pearson) couldn't put on his breaks anywhere close enough to Jonathan Drouin, who left him in the dust, and (Drouin) put it on the tape." — Engblom

3. The power play (Jan. 19)

 

The play: This looked like Drouin said, 'Enough, I'm just going to do it myself.' " Drouin, ticked off he couldn't keep the puck in the zone on a power play, collected himself in the neutral zone. Drouin then blew by several Sharks on the right side, including Marc-Édouard Vlasic, somehow cutting in front to beat goalie Aaron Dell.

The call: "Incredible stuff from Jonathan Drouin. He just will not be denied. It seemed like anger took over. As soon as he turned that corner, (Vlasic) can't handle the speed of Drouin. Drouin is as smooth as it gets accelerating and controlling the puck at the same time." — Engblom

4. The surprise (Dec. 10 vs. Penguins)

 

The play: Drouin got his payback on the Penguins with this one. He had to leave the game earlier to get seven stitches below his left eye, the result of a high stick from Evgeni Malkin. Midway through the second, Drouin raced to collect a floating stretch pass by Jason Garrison. Drouin beat defenseman Ian Cole to the puck. And in one motion, Drouin hit the breaks, held Cole off with one arm and slipped a backhand over goalie Matt Murray with the other.

The call: "Are you kidding me? Did he put that one in? He had no racetrack left. He had to make a move while putting on the breaks right in front of the goaltender. He completely surprised (defenseman Ian) Cole. Cole looks over and goes, 'Woah, he's fast, lot faster than I thought. And he realizes, I'm in trouble.' — Engblom

5. The snipe (Feb. 7, vs Kings)

 

The play: Drouin went end-to-end on this one, taking advantage of open ice in a 4-on-4 situation. He carried the puck to the bottom of the left circle, somehow snapping a shot over the right shoulder of goalie Peter Budaj.

The call: "You say that's a shot a goaltender should save, but when you put it off the crossbar like that, sometimes you have to tip your hat to the shooter. Drouin with the fantastic goal." — NBCSN's Brian Boucher, a former NHL goalie

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected] Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

 

Comments
Lightning opens seven-game preseason schedule at home Sept. 18

Lightning opens seven-game preseason schedule at home Sept. 18

TAMPA — The Lightning will open its seven-game preseason schedule at home with a 7:30 p.m.  game Sept. 18 against the Carolina Hurricane, the team announced Thursday.That is one of three home games the Lightning will play in a preseason sc...
Published: 06/14/18
Lightning trades Peter Budaj to Kings, acquires forward Andy Andreoff

Lightning trades Peter Budaj to Kings, acquires forward Andy Andreoff

Sixteen months after acquiring Peter Budaj from the Kings, the Lightning today returned the veteran goaltender to Los Angeles.The Lightning traded Budaj for forward Andy Andreoff, general manager Steve Yzerman announced in a news release.Andreoff, 27...
Published: 06/13/18
Lightning set as early favorite to win the Stanley Cup in 2018-19

Lightning set as early favorite to win the Stanley Cup in 2018-19

This past season didn't end the way Lightning fans might have hoped, but that's no reason to lose hope.In fact, oddsmakers are more bullish on Tampa Bay than any team in the NHL for next season.According to at least one sports betting site, the ...
Published: 06/08/18
Washington has a new hero. His name is Devante Smith-Pelly

Washington has a new hero. His name is Devante Smith-Pelly

LAS VEGAS — Before Devante Smith-Pelly could relax or breathe or even start thinking about his game-tying goal, he had to start moving his feet.The period of recall began midway through the third period Thursday night, when the Capitals trailed, 3-2....
Published: 06/08/18
Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup wait is finally over. Who has waited longer?

Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup wait is finally over. Who has waited longer?

The Washington Capitals won the first Stanley Cup title in the franchise's 43-year history Thursday night in Las Vegas.And still the St. Louis Blues and their fans wait. The Blues marked their 50th NHL season this year; 50 years without a Cup.He...
Published: 06/08/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: What could have been for the Lightning

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: What could have been for the Lightning

As the Washington Capitals celebrate their first Stanley Cup championship, Rick Stroud reflects on what could have been for the Lightning, which came within a victory of eliminating Washington in the conference final.Plus, the Rays lose in ...
Published: 06/08/18
Capitals win first Stanley Cup, eliminate Golden Knights in 5

Capitals win first Stanley Cup, eliminate Golden Knights in 5

LAS VEGAS — Alex Ovechkin put both hands to his head and screamed while he left the bench and skated into the thick of the Washington Capitals' joyous celebration. And right before Ovechkin hoisted the Stanley Cup, the Washington captain put ...
Published: 06/07/18
Updated: 06/08/18
Here’s what I remember about the Lightning’s Stanley Cup. How about you?

Here’s what I remember about the Lightning’s Stanley Cup. How about you?

You might not recognize the name, but my words were probably some of the first you read after the Lightning won its first – and, so far, only — Stanley Cup 14 years ago today.In the days before social media, email newsletters and push not...
Published: 06/07/18
The Lightning Effect on the Stanley Cup is about to strike again

The Lightning Effect on the Stanley Cup is about to strike again

Call it the Lightning effect.The Washington Capitals are a win away from ending years of frustration and winning their first Stanley Cup.As if we doubted them.RELATED: More Lightning coverageAlex Ovechkin and his Caps teammates have the Tampa Bay Lig...
Published: 06/05/18
Capitals on verge of Stanley Cup after blowing out Golden Knights in Game 4

Capitals on verge of Stanley Cup after blowing out Golden Knights in Game 4

WASHINGTON — Evgeny Kuznetsov smiled about getting four assists. He tried not to smile too much at the thought of being one win away from the Stanley Cup. With Kuznetsov and goaltender Braden Holtby leading the way, the Washington Capitals are on the...
Published: 06/05/18