Friday, November 24, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning romps past Panthers

RECOMMENDED READING


SUNRISE — Marty St. Louis wound up to shoot Ondrej Palat's cross-ice pass as hard as he could. But the Lightning captain mishit the puck.

So instead of a screaming slap shot, he flubbed a knuckleball at Panthers goaltender Scott Clemmensen — and scored anyway.

Those are the breaks one gets when things are going well. And right now things couldn't be going much better for St. Louis, who in a 6-1 victory Monday night at the BB&T Center reinforced that he is playing his best hockey of the season.

"I feel good out there," the right wing said. "When you're winning and contributing, you feel like you're doing your job. It's fun."

St. Louis had a goal and three points for Tampa Bay (23-11-3), which won its fifth straight game. He also had five shots, was plus-2, and had two takeaways and a blocked shot in 20:27 of ice time.

J.T. Brown had the first two-goal game of his career. Alex Killorn, Tyler Johnson and Valtteri Filppula scored and Ben Bishop made 28 saves for his 20th victory.

But it was St. Louis off whom the team fed, Killorn said, adding, "He was huge."

It has been that way since Nov. 11, when star center Steven Stamkos broke his leg. Tampa Bay is 11-6-3 without him, and in those 20 games St. Louis has nine goals and 21 points.

The team is 9-2-2 when St. Louis has a goal, shootout goal or assist.

"He has led the way," coach Jon Cooper said. "He's been outstanding for us. He has clearly put the team on his back and it's been great to see."

"You know you're counted on and you want to deliver," said St. Louis, who has a team-best 16 goals and 37 points that are tied for 11th in the league. "You feel everybody is going to be watching our team. I feel everybody is going to be watching me. I definitely took it as a challenge. … I'm going to try to keep pushing."

Funny thing about Monday, St. Louis did not score on his best chance, a breakaway on which Clemmensen, on his stomach, made a Marty Brodeur-like save by bending his right leg up at the knee.

But St. Louis scored and assisted on goals by Johnson and Filppula during a three-goal second period that broke open a 1-1 game.

"Sometimes the odds have a funny way of evening things out," St. Louis said.

There are ways to tilt the odds as well, such as St. Louis has done by feeding off rookie linemates Johnson and Palat.

"When (Stamkos) goes down you have to reinvent yourself a little bit," St. Louis said. "I'm playing with young guys who have energy."

Though St. Louis is 38, Johnson and Palat could say the same about him.

Lightning1326
Panthers1001

First Period1, Florida, Bergenheim 5 (Barkov), 18:56 (pp). 2, Tampa Bay, Killorn 9 (Filppula, Hedman), 19:15. PenaltiesKulikov, Fla (holding), 8:34; Killorn, TB (hooking), 15:04; Palat, TB (hooking), 17:16.

Second Period3, Tampa Bay, Johnson 9 (Hedman, St. Louis), 3:22. 4, Tampa Bay, Filppula 13 (Purcell, St. Louis), 8:01 (pp). 5, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 16 (Palat), 12:07. PenaltiesCarle, TB (concealing puck), 4:28; Gilbert, Fla (hooking), 6:48; Florida bench, served by Huberdeau (too many men), 6:48; Petrovic, Fla (tripping), 13:04.

Third Period6, Tampa Bay, Brown 3 (Kucherov, Cote), 3:40. 7, Tampa Bay, Brown 4 (Kucherov, Carle), 13:36. PenaltiesNone. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 9-16-11—36. Florida 11-12-6—29. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 1 of 4; Florida 1 of 3. GoaliesTampa Bay, Bishop 20-5-2 (29 shots-28 saves). Florida, Clemmensen 4-3-1 (36-30). A15,942 (17,040). T2:23.

   
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...
Published: 11/23/17
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