Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Steven Stamkos luckier after Tuesday's collision with post (w/video)

TAMPA — As a streaking Steven Stamkos' right leg crashed into the right goal post early in Tuesday's third period against Edmonton, it sparked haunting flashbacks for many, including the Lightning bench.

As Stamkos was tangled with Oilers D Darnell Nurse on a rush with the puck to the Oilers net, it looked similar to the play on which the All-Star center broke his right leg in Boston in November 2013. "That did, for a second, pop into my head," coach Jon Cooper said.

This time, Stamkos popped right back up onto his feet, suffering no harm physically or mentally. "My leg hasn't been on my mind for a while now," Stamkos said. "Obviously it's a good thing to go to the net, crash in similar fashion and get up and wipe the snow off. If anything, it's something for me to continue to try to use my speed and get the puck to the net, and obviously it was nice that there was no pain this time when I got up."

No worries: RW Ryan Callahan will be the first to say he needs to produce more offense.

Callahan, who had 24 goals last season, has five this season (and is on pace for nine), with one in his past 33 games. But Cooper has been pleased with Callahan's play, noting he has a different role, on a shutdown third line with C Valtteri Filppula and LW J.T. Brown.

And Callahan had a monster game in Tuesday's 6-4 win, with a team-high six shots and five hits in 17:37. C Brian Boyle called him a beast.

"I know on a personal aspect, I'm sure the players are like, 'Gosh, I wish I had more goals,' " Cooper said. "But on a coaching aspect, we look at, 'Are you competing hard, are you doing the right things, and is our team winning? Is he contributing to helping us win?' And (Callahan is) doing that in all those areas. For me, I'm not as worried about it as maybe everyone else is because he brings so much to our team."

Vasy in: Cooper had suggested he'd like to get G Andrei Vasilevskiy at least two starts before the All-Star break. Vasilveskiy could get three. He started Tuesday for the second time in three games, winning his fifth straight start. The Lightning has three games before the Jan. 28-Feb 1 All-Star break; Cooper said Vasilevskiy might get another start.

All-Star Ben Bishop appears in line to start Thursday's Stanley Cup final rematch with Chicago. Cooper had said they hadn't planned on Vasilevskiy going to AHL Syracuse for spot starts, but it would seem likely the goalie will, especially Jan. 29-30 while Tampa Bay is on break. The Lightning and Crunch play Saturday and Jan. 27.

Lining up: Boyle, who missed Sunday's game against Florida with a lower-body injury, returned to the lineup. RW Jonathan Marchessault, despite being sixth on the team with six goals, was scratched for the fifth time in the past six games. D Matt Carle was also scratched.

Trade talks: There continued to be significant interest from around the league in RW Jonathan Drouin, who requested a trade in November.

Stamkos offer? Canada's Sportsnet TV network reported Tuesday it's believed the Lightning made a contract offer in recent weeks to Stamkos, dubbing it a "negotiation point."

 
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