Monday, April 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

'Crazy' year has rewards for Steven Stamkos

For Steven Stamkos, the bottom line always was, as he said, "getting back to playing with the guys." Yes, playing for Canada at February's Olympics would have been terrific. But ultimately, the Lightning captain said, his main concern, after breaking his right tibia in a Nov. 11 game at Boston, was getting back on the ice to help the team make the playoffs. That is why Tampa Bay's first postseason appearance since 2011, and only its second since 2007, is so rewarding. "I always talk about when we were in (the playoffs) a couple of years ago, how that was the most fun a lot of us had playing hockey in our lives," Stamkos said. Stamkos, 24, despite missing 45 games, tied for the team lead with 25 goals, including 11 in 20 games after resuming his season March 6 with a titanium rod in his leg. He took a few minutes recently at the Tampa Bay Times Forum to reflect on a tumultuous season that included the trade of friend and mentor Marty St. Louis to the Rangers:

As you look back on your rehab, what was your biggest motivation?

The thing that helped me most was not feeling sorry for myself. It was a lot of hard work. It was a lot of days when you woke up knowing there was going to be some pain but the pain was going to be for the better. I look back and it's been five months. Some people said I might not be back before six months. I know I'm not at that level that I can be, but I eventually will be.

Does going through such a serious injury and rehab change your perspective on your career?

You just appreciate the game so much more and the opportunity to play again and play in the playoffs. That's what I'm excited about.

How has this season made you a stronger, better player?

It's been a crazy year with the injury and missing the Olympics and the Marty trade. It's just reassuring that all the hard work you put in and, collectively, the team gives you a chance in the playoffs. Sometimes you go through stuff like this — the sacrifices and adversity — and for the most part, you would go through it again.

What do you expect from yourself in the postseason?

It's nice to score goals and get the points, but when you come back from something like (the broken leg), you want to make sure you get your game to the level that can help you win. Sometimes it's tough. I expect a lot of myself. … I'm happy to be playing, and I want to contribute and help the team win. You just want to feel as good as you can.

Any predictions?

Once you get into the playoffs, you never know. No one expected us to get to the conference final (in 2011). You get on a run and get some luck, you get a hot goaltender, you get in a groove, and things start to feel special.

And you shouldn't take that for granted, right?

This is my sixth year and only the second time in the playoffs. (So) you never know when you're going to get that chance. You want to take advantage of it. The beauty of our sport is any team can win. No matter what seed you are, once the playoffs start, it's the closest you're going to get to an even playing field in any sport. We're excited for that challenge.



2.55

(21st)

Goals scored

2.83

(9th)

Goals allowed

2.45

(8th)

2.55

(11th)







Records

46 wins

Lightning

Canadiens

27 losses

9 OT/SO losses

46 wins

28 losses

8 OT/SO losses























#

#













Comments
Lightning has answer for Devils and David Puddy

Lightning has answer for Devils and David Puddy

You knew those who work the scoreboard for the Lightning games at Amalie Arena would have an answer Saturday during Game 5 to the Devils using David Puddy during Game 4 at the Prudential Center. Puddy meets Homer Simpson. Actually, Puddy met Terry ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Single-game tickets for the Lightning's Eastern Conference semifinal series go on sale to the general public at 1 p.m. Monday at nhl.com/lightning/tickets.The Lightning plays the winner of the Bruins-Maple Leafs series. Game 6 of that series is Monda...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

TAMPA — As usual, Andrei Vasilevskiy didn't speak in front of the cameras after the game. He has been like that since he hit the NHL. He still isn't comfortable with his English on TV.But Vasilevskiy spoke loudly and clearly in the first-round ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Lightning-Devils: Grading Tampa Bay’s clinching 3-1 victory in Game 5

Lightning-Devils: Grading Tampa Bay’s clinching 3-1 victory in Game 5

TAMPA — Closers.That's what the Lightning looked like as it closed out the New Jersey Devils in five games with a 3-1 win Saturday.Nikita Kucherov's star power blazed again, the defense controlled the game and not even Jersey goaltend...
Published: 04/21/18
Updated: 04/22/18
Maple Leafs force Game 6 with Bruins

Maple Leafs force Game 6 with Bruins

BOSTON — Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk scored 1:19 apart in the second period, and then the Maple Leafs killed off a 5-on-3 and three more power plays in a row to beat the Bruins 4-3 in Game 5 on Saturday night and avoid playoff eliminatio...
Published: 04/21/18
Lightning-Devils: How the NHL’s top offense went on the defensive

Lightning-Devils: How the NHL’s top offense went on the defensive

TAMPA — It was a couple of days after the Lightning beat the Bruins at home late in the regular season when associate coach Rick Bowness talked about how the defensive effort used in that shutout victory was the one the Lightning would need in ...
Published: 04/21/18
Rookie? Lightning D Mikhail Sergachev’s playing like a seasoned pro

Rookie? Lightning D Mikhail Sergachev’s playing like a seasoned pro

TAMPA — Pardon Mikhail Sergachev if he isn't so good at one of hockey's greatest traditions. After all, growing a Stanley Cup playoff beard isn't easy when you're still just a teenager.As he stood in the Lightning locker room Saturday evening w...
Published: 04/21/18
Roger Mooney’s takeaways from the Lightning’s first-round series

Roger Mooney’s takeaways from the Lightning’s first-round series

TAMPA — In the postseason, teams want to bank days off so they are as fresh as can be for the next round. That's why it was so important for the Lightning to close out Jersey in five. The fewer the games, the less wear and tear on the body, les...
Published: 04/21/18
Lightning stays patient, even through 0-for-5 power-play drought

Lightning stays patient, even through 0-for-5 power-play drought

TAMPA — The Lightning so dominated the second period Saturday that the Devils had more penalties (five) than shots on goal (four), and yet Tampa Bay was unable to build on a 1-0 lead as they sought to clinch the opening-round series.Nowhere was...
Published: 04/21/18
Nikita Kucherov’s goal sets Lightning playoff series scoring record

Nikita Kucherov’s goal sets Lightning playoff series scoring record

TAMPA — After clinging to a 1-0 lead for more than two periods Saturday, the Lightning got a long-awaited cushion — and ultimately the winning goal — when Nikita Kucherov scored with 7:33 left in the final period of a 3-1 victo...
Published: 04/21/18