Friday, April 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning's hard-luck Paquette: Not my year

TAMPA — During Thursday's practice, Lightning C Cedric Paquette took a slap shot off his right shin and buckled to the ice in pain.

After getting helped off to the Ice Sports Forum dressing room, Paquette returned after practice ended, drawing a large ovation from teammates.

"It's not my year," he said.

Paquette was fine, and he played Friday night against the Penguins. But he has had his share of bad luck this season. It started with a left foot/ankle injury during the preseason blocking a shot, and later he missed a month after aggravating it in mid November.

"He's a warrior, though," coach Jon Cooper said.

Paquette said that with the injuries, it has taken him time to find his game, and he's still not completely happy with his play. He's trying to find his confidence. After setting career highs with 12 goals and seven assists in 64 games last season, Paquette entered Friday with two goals and two assists in 26 games.

"It's more my offensive side," he said. "I'm just playing a little bit too simple right now. I don't want to make a mistake. I wasn't thinking about that last year, and I do this year. It's just confidence."

WAITING GAME: RW Jonathan Marchessault might have played his way onto the roster after a late October callup, providing a spark, scoring six goals in his first 21 games and getting power-play time.

But with the Lightning now healthy, Marchessault has usually been the odd-forward out. He has been scratched eight times in the past 11 games. Marchessault still entered Friday with his six goals as many as C Valtteri Filppula and C Tyler Johnson, and one more than RW Ryan Callahan.

"It's hard to come back, play one game, sit out two or three," Marchessault said. "But it is what it is. Every hockey player, you want to skip a few steps. But everyone went through that."

Marchessault isn't the only one sitting a lot. D Matt Carle, the team's highest-paid defenseman at $5.5 million, has been scratched six times in the past seven games and nine of 12.

Cooper has said he doesn't like players sitting for long stretches, no matter if the team is on a winning streak. But the coach said it's difficult with a healthy team, wanting to stick with the same lineup that played so well Wednesday.

"We've done a decent job of getting guys in, but it's hard," Cooper said. "As a coach you want to get guys in, but what is paramount is you don't want guys to get hurt. We've gone a little bit of a stretch here where we haven't had injuries, and that's where it all just weighs out. So we'd like to get everybody in, and we are trying to do our best, and we will, eventually."

TRADE WINDS: With the trade deadline a little more than three weeks away, Feb. 29, seven teams had representatives at Friday's game. The Stars had two, including their director of hockey operations. The Jets and Maple Leafs had their directors of pro scouting in attendance.

Comments
Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

BRANDON — Ryan McDonagh blocks shots. He competes for pucks in the corners and wins those battles. He moves the puck up ice well. He can join the rush. He can shoot from the blueline. He kills penalties."It was a great pickup by Steve (Yze...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
Why Game 5 is crucial to the Lightning

Why Game 5 is crucial to the Lightning

BRANDON — Three things that popped into my head as the Lightning and Devils get ready to play Game 5 Saturday afternoon at Amalie Arena.1. I'm going to do something that a hockey team in the playoffs would never do, not in a million years....
Updated: 18 minutes ago
NHL makes right call in not suspending Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov

NHL makes right call in not suspending Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov

The NHL got it right.Nikita Kucherov, the Lightning's top scorer and best player so far in these playoffs, will play Saturday's Game 5 against New Jersey. He's not going to be suspended for his vicious hit on a Devils player in Tampa Bay's Game 4 vic...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Lightning’s Hedman a Norris finalist again

Lightning’s Hedman a Norris finalist again

The Lightning's Victor Hedman is a finalist for the second consecutive year for the Norris Trophy, given to the top defenseman in the league. The other two finalists are Drew Doughty of the Kings and P.K. Subban of the Predators, it was announced Thu...
Published: 04/19/18
Turns out, Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy is ready for the playoffs

Turns out, Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy is ready for the playoffs

TAMPA — The second period was not even four minutes old Wednesday night when Devils right wing Patrick Maroon skated all alone toward Andrei Vasilevskiy. It was a moment that could turn a game and even a series.A goal and the score would be tie...
Published: 04/19/18
Shaquem Griffin: ‘Lightning is going to win the Stanley Cup’

Shaquem Griffin: ‘Lightning is going to win the Stanley Cup’

Former UCF and Lakewood High standout Shaquem Griffin understandably has been focused on the NFL draft next week in Arlington, Tex., where he is projected as a potential second-day pick.But the Lightning's playoff run  hasn't escaped his attenti...
Published: 04/19/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Nikita Kucherov drives Lightning past Devils

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Nikita Kucherov drives Lightning past Devils

Nikita Kucherov scores two goals and delivers some big hits as the Lightning beats the Devils, 3-1, in a physical Game 4 that pushes Tampa Bay to within one win of clinching the series.Meanwhile, the Rays beat the Rangers to as Jake Faria pitche...
Published: 04/19/18
Lightning holds off Devils and David Puddy

Lightning holds off Devils and David Puddy

NEWARK, N.J. — The Devils pulled out all the stops for Wednesday's Game 4 of their Stanley Cup quarter final series with the Lightning by inviting David Puddy at the Prudential Center.For those who do not know who he is, Puddy was Elaine's...
Published: 04/19/18
Lightning stands up to Devils, pushes its way to 3-1 series lead

Lightning stands up to Devils, pushes its way to 3-1 series lead

NEWARK, N.J. — Bachman-Turner Overdrive's Taking Care of Business shook the walls of the Lightning locker room not long after it dispatched the Devils in Wednesday's Game 4 of their first-round playoff series.The 3-1 win was sparked by Nikita K...
Published: 04/18/18
Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Lightning-Devils Game 4

Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Lightning-Devils Game 4

I guess the lesson here is never believe a hockey player when he says what happens in a scrum at the end of a playoff game doesn't carry over into the next game. It sure looks like the Lightning and Devils won't be vacationing together this summer.Th...
Published: 04/18/18