Sunday, May 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

St. Louis: Olympic snub not motivation

RALEIGH, N.C. — Marty St. Louis said Sunday that being left off Canada's Olympic team has nothing to do with his current scoring streak.

"I wouldn't say that I'm motivated more now," he said. "That's far from the truth."

But it is impossible not to notice the tear the Lightning captain has been on since Jan. 7, when he was informed he was not one of 25 players selected to go to next month's Games.

It was a particularly bitter pill because Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman is Team Canada's executive director.

At the time, Lightning coach Jon Cooper said the snub would "motivate the snot" out of St. Louis. And in eight games since, he has eight goals and four assists in an eight-game points streak that is the league's longest current. That includes Saturday's four-goal game against the Sharks that tied Chris Kontos' franchise mark.

St. Louis is the oldest NHL player to score three goals in one period and the second-oldest (38 years, 214 days) with four goals in a game. Only Johnny Bucyk, who was 38 years, 238 days when he did it for the Bruins in January 1974, was older.

"One hell of a loogie," Cooper said of St. Louis' performance.

"I feel like I'm getting a lot of opportunities," said St. Louis, who had a primary assist in Sunday's 5-3 win over the Hurricanes and has 25 goals and 50 points in 50 games. "I'm putting myself in position to score goals. I feel like I'm freeing myself a little better."

In other words, he is reading the game well.

"You don't want to cheat, but you can anticipate," St. Louis said. "When you're playing with confidence, there's clarity and you're able to back up your actions with the results you're getting personally."

"He's done a hell of a job for us under what I would consider some tough circumstances," Cooper said. "He really wanted to make that (Olympic) team."

But St. Louis insisted the snub has not altered his approach.

"I don't think I'm playing 10 times better now," he said. "I played some pretty good hockey before then."

As for anything more about the Olympics, he said, "I'd rather not talk about it."

HAIRY TALE: A couple of weeks ago, rookie D Mark Barberio said, he told teammates that when he scored his first NHL goal, he would cut the shoulder-length hair he has grown for two years.

With two on Sunday, the time has come, perhaps with a charitable tie-in.

"It's gotten a little too long, so it will be good to clean up a little bit," Barberio said.

HEDMAN UPDATE: D Victor Hedman (bruised right leg) did not play Sunday. Cooper said he is unsure if he will be ready by Thursday against the Senators.

ODDS AND ENDS: The previous record for shots allowed was 50: March 25, 2010, in a 5-3 win at Boston and Feb. 16, 2012, in a 6-5 overtime home win against San Jose. … The Lightning swept the three-game series from the Hurricanes with G Ben Bishop stopping 104 of 109 shots for a 1.65 goals-against average and .954 save percentage. It has won six straight in Carolina. … Tampa Bay's power play is 6-for-15 in its past five games. … The Lightning is 6-1-1 in the second of back-to-back games. … Forwards B.J. Crombeen and Richard Panik were scratched.

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