Sunday, May 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Stamkos hopes to play in world championship

MONTREAL — He has not made a final decision, but Lightning C Steven Stamkos said he likely will play for Canada at this year's world championship.

There is some uncertainty because of Stamkos' sore left shoulder, but he said Thursday he wants to participate in the May 3-19 event in Sweden and Finland.

"Any time you get a chance to represent your country, you want to go," Stamkos said. "It's tough for me to say right now. If I'm feeling healthy to go play, then I'm going to."

Stamkos, 23, missed last year's tournament because of an injury to the same shoulder. His most recent injury came March 23, when he slammed into the end boards checking Senators D Mike Methot. He briefly left an April 1 practice because of what he termed a "dead-arm" stinger.

He has not missed a game, nor has he been officially invited to the world championship, though that should happen soon as Tampa Bay has been eliminated from the playoff chase.

"Just play out the year and see what happens," said Stamkos, whose 27 goals are one behind league leader Alex Ovechkin. "If all is well and I feel well, I'll definitely go."

SALO HURT: D Sami Salo left Thursday's game early in the second period with an upper-body injury after a hit from Montreal D Travis Moen.

"A clean hit," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "I don't think he was expecting it. Something seized up on him. I don't think it's anything serious."

PYATT IMPROVING: F Tom Pyatt, out three games since taking a head shot from Sabres D Mike Weber on April 14, said he hopes to play Sunday at home against the Hurricanes.

"It felt pretty good," Pyatt said after participating in Thursday's morning skate with a red no-contact jersey; "definitely nothing too serious."

Even so, Pyatt acknowledged his memory was fuzzy after the hit, though he said he is now symptom free.

The hit was not penalized, but Cooper said judgments are tough: "It happened so fast. I'm sure the league looked at it and thought nothing of it, so I can't argue."

Working man: Tampa Bay has played nine games since acquiring G Ben Bishop from the Senators, and Bishop started eight.

"I feel good," he said before facing the Canadiens; "nothing I wasn't ready for."

Added Cooper: "Getting to know his surroundings, getting to know me, getting to know our team, it's going to be nothing but beneficial to us in the future."

Bishop, 26, is 2-4-1 with a 3.12 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. But Cooper said Bishop has been better than his stats, which have been skewed by several fluky goals.

"I can tell our team is different when he's in net," Cooper said. "We play with a lot more confidence. No matter what happens, they know that a goaltender will bail them out. It's a great foundation going forward."

HOMECOMING: Rookie F Alex Killorn played in the Bell Centre with AHL Syracuse. But for a kid who grew up in Montreal, facing the Canadiens is a bigger deal.

"I'm so excited to play here," Killorn, 23, said. "I played here with Syracuse. It was a good atmosphere, but it's so much different with a Canadiens team having a good year."

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