Friday, February 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Stamkos gets first goal since return

TAMPA — Steven Stamkos had a second-period shift Thursday that lasted 2 minutes, 46 seconds as he played before, during and after a power play.

"I guess my legs are pretty good because I felt great out there," said the Lightning captain, who played his fourth game after missing four months with a broken right tibia. "If I would have done that my first game, I would have been passing out. But now I feel a little refreshed."

And relieved, to an extent, after getting his first goal since his return, a power-play one-timer that gave Tampa Bay a 5-2 lead and was the winner in a 5-4 victory over the Panthers.

"It's nice, confidence-wise, to get it going," said Stamkos, whose 15th goal was his first since Nov. 9. "To see one go in, it's reassuring all the hard work I put in while I was out is paying off."

Stamkos also had an assist, was 6-for-6 on faceoffs and had 20:11 of ice time. What he did not do was play right wing, though coach Jon Cooper had indicated before the game he would start Stamkos there on a line with C Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn for the dual purpose of taking some pressure off Stamkos' leg and perhaps creating some offensive juice.

The goal, Cooper said, was "classic 'Stammer,' " as he snapped a shot past helpless former Lightning G Dan Ellis. The key was a perfect cross-ice pass from C Valtteri Filppula.

"That's why you've got to love him as a captain," Cooper said of Stamkos. "He didn't go and jump in the crowd or do any of that kind of stuff (when he scored). He went right over to (Filppula) and acknowledged the pass. That's why he's our captain."

MEDICAL MATTERS: D Radko Gudas, out four games with a left leg injury, and D Sami Salo, who played just three minutes Monday against the Coyotes because of a lower-body injury, were in the lineup.

AS PREDICTED: Ryan Callahan's first Lightning goal was scored exactly how Cooper expected, with the right wing charging hard to the net to re-direct the puck.

"I love that kid," Cooper said. "He just works so hard."

Callahan, who came to Tampa Bay from the Rangers in the Marty St. Louis deal, has a goal and three points in four games and is plus-3.

His goal was the end of a terrific passing play that went from Filppula, who held the puck to draw defenders and then passed to Ondrej Palat, who passed to Callahan. "It's always nice to get that first one out of the way, and we move on," Callahan said.

CUP FEVER: The Stanley Cup can be seen as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of the Lightning's 2004 title.

Sunday: At Thunder Alley (west plaza) of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.; Between the Pipes on the Times Forum terrace level (season-ticket holders only), 2:45-6 p.m.

Monday: At Thunder Alley, 5:30-7 p.m.

ODDS AND ENDS: G Ben Bishop's 30th win of the season tied Nik Khabibulin's team record set in 2002-03. … Florida's power-play goal was the first such goal Tampa Bay allowed at home since Jan. 23 (15-for-15 in six games). … Gudas had 10 hits. … Forwards Ryan Malone and B.J. Crombeen, and defensemen Keith Aulie and Mark Barberio were scratched.

Comments
Lightning not planning to trade from current roster

Lightning not planning to trade from current roster

You can bet that many Lightning fans hoped Senators superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson jumped on Tampa Bay's bus after Thursday night's 4-3 Lightning win.Karlsson, 27, a two-time Norris Trophy winner, is the biggest prize leading up to Monday's trade...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Lightning escapes for 4-3 win in Ottawa

Lightning escapes for 4-3 win in Ottawa

OTTAWA – The Lightning was encouraged it escaped Ottawa with a 4-3 win over the Senators on Thursday night.But it was really disappointed about how it had to "hold on to dear life," as defenseman Victor Hedman put it, after taking a three-goal ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
U-S-A! U-S-A! Womenís hockey beats Canada for Olympic gold

U-S-A! U-S-A! Womenís hockey beats Canada for Olympic gold

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — The Americans' gold medal drought in women's hockey is finally over. They needed the first shootout in an Olympic women's final to do it, too.Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored a dazzling, triple-deke goal in the sixth ...
Published: 02/22/18
Ryan Callahan regaining his confidence for Lightning

Ryan Callahan regaining his confidence for Lightning

When the Lightning put wing Ryan Callahan back on the power play a month ago, there were many reasons for the move.With Ondrej Palat suffering a lower-body injury Jan. 20, Tampa Bay needed a replacement who was fearless in front of the net and a rele...
Published: 02/21/18
The entire Lightning team was sent to Syracuse late Tuesday. Really

The entire Lightning team was sent to Syracuse late Tuesday. Really

On Tuesday night, the entire Lightning team was reassigned to Syracuse.Well, more like re-directed.The team's charter flight from Washington D.C. was diverted around midnight Tuesday night due to fog in Ottawa, where the Lightning was headed for a Th...
Published: 02/21/18
Lightning claims Gabriel Dumont off waivers

Lightning claims Gabriel Dumont off waivers

The Lightning got F Gabriel Dumont back, claiming him off waivers Wednesday from Ottawa.Dumont, 27, was reassigned to AHL Syracuse, where he will provide a veteran presence. He's a potential callup option down the stretch for a bottom six role and fa...
Published: 02/21/18
Nikita Kucherovís trick shot sends Lightning past Capitals

Nikita Kucherovís trick shot sends Lightning past Capitals

WASHINGTON — There was some lighthearted debate in the Lightning dressing room Tuesday night about whether the latest dazzling breakaway move by Nikita Kucherov was a deliberate fake or a slip off the stick.Some teammates playfully gave the All...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/21/18
Could Detroitís Mike Green be next domino to fall at deadline?

Could Detroitís Mike Green be next domino to fall at deadline?

The Red Wings have started wheeling and dealing, shipping goalie Petr Mrazek to the Flyers for a package of conditional draft picks.That has shifted focus to a potential Lightning target, Red Wings defenseman Mike Green, who is expected to be moved b...
Published: 02/20/18
Trade rumors can weigh on NHL players as deadline approaches

Trade rumors can weigh on NHL players as deadline approaches

WASHINGTON — Tyler Johnson was as good as gone.Or so it seemed.The scuttlebutt around last year's trade deadline was that the Lightning center could be the piece headed elsewhere to land a top-four defenseman. Maybe Nashville? St. Louis?Then th...
Published: 02/19/18
Better ĎDí starts at home with Lightning

Better ĎDí starts at home with Lightning

TAMPA – The Lightning still might land that top tier defenseman it certainly needs by the Feb. 26 trade deadline. But if that player was wearing a Tampa Bay sweater Saturday, would the outcome against the Devils have been any different?The Ligh...
Published: 02/19/18