Friday, April 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

St. Louis adjusts offensive mentality

TAMPA — RW Marty St. Louis said when things are going bad, a team looks to its veterans for reassurance.

And on an extremely young Lightning team, St. Louis, the 38-year-old captain, has shouldered the responsibility of helping it handle the loss of star C Steven Stamkos (broken right tibia).

"I know that I'm counted on to do the things that I can do, and I try to bring it every night," St. Louis said.

Without Stamkos, his longtime linemate and one of the league's top scorers, St. Louis said he has adjusted his game to a more shoot-first mentality while playing alongside C Tyler Johnson and LW Ondrej Palat.

Since Stamkos' injury Nov. 11, St. Louis has 10 goals and 12 assists. His tying goal in the second period Saturday against the Canadiens extended his points streak to a season-high six games.

"When you play with a guy like 'Stammer,' you find yourself shooting a little less because he's got such a good shot," St. Louis said. "You feel his shot has got a better chance than your shot. So you find yourself more in a passing mode."

St. Louis, a two-time Art Ross Trophy winner as the league's top scorer, said it takes a while to get back to that aggressive approach: "It's an opportunity to prove that you can still do good things, not playing with a guy … that scores 50-60 goals a year."

Johnson, who said his first shift with St. Louis was "nerve-wrecking," assisted on St. Louis' goal Saturday in the 2-1 shootout loss.

"He sees the game so much differently than everybody else," Johnson said. "There are times where he's on the ice having the puck. You don't think he has anything, and he finds something. You always have to be ready."

MEDICAL MATTERS: D Eric Brewer (upper body) missed his second game and was put on injured reserve, eligible to come back today against the Rangers. Brewer, who wore a red noncontact jersey during Saturday's morning skate, said he is feeling better but likely won't return until the four-game western road trip that starts Wednesday.

LW Ryan Malone participated in a full-team skate the past two days, taking a significant step in returning from an ankle fracture. Malone, who was hit by a puck Nov. 22 in Anaheim, also hopes to return during the road trip. The key will be improving his conditioning.

D Sami Salo (upper body) did not skate Saturday and is still day to day.

STEPPING IN: With Brewer and Salo out, coach Jon Cooper said the Lightning brought in some size and "bite" in recalling D Dmitry Korobov from AHL Syracuse.

Korobov, 6 feet 3, 230 pounds, debuted Nov. 19 against the Kings and held his own, Cooper said. Korobov said his previous experience in Tampa Bay makes him more comfortable this time around.

"He's a vet now," Cooper quipped.

Odds and ends: RW Richard Panik and LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie were scratched. … Rays manager Joe Maddon attended the game.

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith @tampabay.com. Follow him on Twitter at @TBTimes_JSmith.

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