Thursday, November 23, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning needs more shots on power play, from defense

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — Tampa Bay entered Thursday on a 1-for-14 power-play skid but got two power-play goals against Chicago. It entered with one goal from a defenseman — Sami Salo's empty-netter — but got tallies from Matt Carle and Victor Hedman.

That said, Tampa Bay generated just 25 shots in the 6-5 overtime win, even fewer than its pregame average of 25.9 that was 29th in the 30-team league. Asked how he can prod more shots out of his players, Cooper joked, "Aside from walking around with them going 'shoot, shoot, shoot,' I don't know what else to do. It takes time to break those habits."

Such as players being unselfish. "They'd just rather tic-tac-toe it and set up their buddy the whole time," Cooper said. "But sometimes you have to make the selfish act and shoot yourself.

"What we're having trouble (with) as a staff is our team passing up Grade A scoring chances, or Grade A chances to get pucks to the net for a B or C chance."

That has been most apparent with the defensemen, who have just 58 shots in Tampa Bay's nine games. The Bruins have seven goals from the blue line in nine games with 107 shots.

"We want to contribute goals, too," said Hedman, whose 12 shots entered Thursday most for Lightning defensemen. "It's find the seams, move your feet on the blue line and get open to make sure we can get pucks to the net. We need to be accountable in that part of the game."

If not, "ultimately you become an easy team to scout," Cooper said. "If they know the D aren't going to shoot, they can collapse more (around the net). We've got guys who can wire it. We've got to get those guys involved."

HOMECOMING: Though it has been almost 10 years since Nikolai Khabibulin helped the Lightning to the 2004 Stanley Cup, the Chicago goalie said "coming back, whether I play or not, is pretty special."

Told he looks leaner, Khabibulin, 40, said, "I have to be. I have to keep up with the young guys."

About Marty St. Louis, the last remaining player on the Lightning from the Cup team, Khabibulin said, "I think the change in (obstruction) rules after the (2004-05) lockout probably benefited his longevity. He doesn't have to take as much abuse as he used to."

WORLD SERIOUS: Alex Killorn always was a Red Sox fan, but after four years at Harvard in Cambridge, Mass., the Lightning wing is all in and watching closely the World Series matchup with the Cardinals. Perhaps not as closely as G Ben Bishop, who grew up in St. Louis. "I watch all the games, but it's not going to change my life if we lose," Killorn said. "It might change his."

ODDS AND ENDS: The 43 shots the Lightning allowed were a season high. … Tampa Bay is 3-0-0 in overtime. … St. Louis, with 924 career points, moved into 93rd all time. … AHL Syracuse G Riku Helenius is out with an upper-body injury. Kristers Gudlev­skis was called up from ECHL Florida. … RW Richard Panik had the biggest catch — a 41-inch red fish — during the Lightning's outing. … Fans can design a Lightning T-shirt that, if judged the best, will be sold at the team store. Go to tampabaylightning.com/shirtofthefan. … Defensemen Keith Aulie and Mark Barberio were scratched.

Comments
Don’t forget Ryan Callahan in Lightning’s resurgence

Don’t forget Ryan Callahan in Lightning’s resurgence

WASHINGTON — Much has been made about the impact on the Lightning of a healthy C Steven Stamkos, who missed most of last season after knee surgery.But don’t forget about RW Ryan Callahan, 32, who is looking like his old self after hip problems plague...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Nikita Kucherov really does admire Patrick Kane

Nikita Kucherov really does admire Patrick Kane

TAMPA — Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov has watched plenty of film on Blackhawks star Patrick Kane.Kucherov marveled how the 2015-16 league MVP uses deception to "hide" from defenders. He noticed how patient Kane was with the puck, how well he passed ...
Published: 11/22/17
Lightning beats Blackhawks in OT

Lightning beats Blackhawks in OT

TAMPA — The Lightning entered Wednesday’s game against the Blackhawks determined to avoid its first losing streak of the season. And it did in dramatic fashion, with Brayden Point’s power-play goal in overtime lifting it to a 3-2 victory. "A big boun...
Published: 11/22/17

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Lightning-Blackhawks game

Every Lightning-Blackhawks game at Amalie Arena has a good representation of red in the stands. And Wednesday’s matchup was no exception, with a large contingent of transplants and travelers. "It feels like half the city of Chicago is traveling down ...
Published: 11/22/17

‘Good chance’ Cedric Paquette back for Lightning

For Cedric Paquette, the wait may finally be over.Paquette said there's a good chance he returns to the Lightning lineup tonight against the Blackhawks at Amalie Arena (7:30 p.m., NBCSN). Paquette had missed the last 13 games with an undisclosed inju...
Published: 11/22/17
Lightning-Blackhawks: Tampa Bay is killing it on penalty-killers

Lightning-Blackhawks: Tampa Bay is killing it on penalty-killers

BRANDON — A successful penalty kill begins long before the offending Lightning player, whistled two minutes earlier for some infraction, leaves the box with the score unchanged.It begins with a detailed scouting report of the opposing team’s power pl...
Published: 11/21/17
Lightning impressed with improved offense from defensemen

Lightning impressed with improved offense from defensemen

BRANDON — At one point during Saturday’s game against the Islanders, the Lightning was first in the NHL in points and second in points scored by its defensemen. That’s one reason the team is off to the best start in franchise history.It’s also by des...
Published: 11/20/17
Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

TAMPA — Jon Cooper stood at the podium late Saturday night to address the media after a regulation loss for only the third time this season."Let’s be honest," he said, "we’ve had one hell of a start."The loss, he added, was frustrating, even when you...
Published: 11/19/17
Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

TAMPA — The firepower showed up in the third period.Yanni Gourde and Ondrej Palat scored 13 seconds apart. Gourde scored again.Suddenly it was a one-goal game, and the Lightning appeared on its way to one of those comeback wins that would be remember...
Published: 11/18/17
Lightning journal: Jon Cooper thrilled with stellar start

Lightning journal: Jon Cooper thrilled with stellar start

TAMPA — If you told coach Jon Cooper his team would open the season with wins in 15 of the first 19 games, well, "I’m not sure I can sit here and say I would have predicted that," he said Saturday morning.But the Lightning did just that to lead the N...
Published: 11/18/17