Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Louis, Stamkos to see action on Lightning penalty kill

ESTERO — Marty St. Louis loves to kill penalties.

"You're always part of the game," the Lightning wing said. "There's no slowing down."

The thing is, St. Louis did not do a lot of penalty killing the past three seasons under former coach Guy Boucher. Under coach Jon Cooper, though, that will change.

And not only for St. Louis but Steven Stamkos, both of whom will get a chance to bolster an anemic penalty kill that last season was 19th in the 30-team league at 80.6 percent and 26th in 2011-12 at 79.2 percent, and give it offensive oomph as well.

Want to read an embarrassing stat? The Lightning the past four seasons has been either last or tied for last in shorthanded goals. It had five in that span, fewest in the league.

"I know you're short a guy, but that doesn't mean you don't have chances to score," Cooper said. "The No. 1 goal is to keep (pucks) out of your net, but if you put one in, it can be a momentum (producer), too."

As St. Louis said, "Sometimes a shorthanded goal can change the whole game."

That is what happened in the third period of Thursday's 3-2 overtime preseason win over the Panthers. Richard Panik scored shorthanded on a two-on-one with St. Louis to tie the score 2-2.

So, will St. Louis, last season's NHL points leader, and Stamkos, with a league-best 185 goals since the start of 2009-10, be game-changers for the penalty kill?

Time was, St. Louis was integral. In 2003-04 his eight shorthanded goals and 11 shorthanded points led the league. In 2006-07 his 11 shorthanded points again were tops, and his five shorthanded goals tied for second with then-teammate Vinny Lecavalier.

But Boucher, who coached from 2010-13, did not want his best offensive players burning energy in a defensive role. St. Louis had zero shorthanded goals under Boucher and an average 33 seconds of penalty-kill time. Stamkos averaged 32 seconds, also with zero goals.

"Listen, if you're going out there smart for 20, 25 seconds, I don't think you're wasting energy. I really don't," said St. Louis, whose 28 shorthanded goals are a Tampa Bay record. "If you can get five, six rotations on your PK, nobody is tired."

The key, Cooper said, is "player-slash-game management."

"If we're in a situation where we've had a ton of power plays, (St. Louis and Stamkos) probably won't see much time killing penalties. I'm not even necessarily a fan of using them together. But I am a big believer in you use your best players whenever you can. I'm not saying they're going to be regular penalty killers, but there are times we are going to need them."

The need, though, is not necessarily goals. Cooper said a penalty kill with a percentage success rate in the high 80s would be just fine, even without shorthanded goals.

And just getting offensive players on the penalty kill "puts a little honesty in the other team" because "they have to be more careful," St. Louis said.

"I love it," Stamkos said. "You want to be out there in those situations and help your team. If it's the penalty kill or stopping goals, that's something I want to do."

Scoring a few shorthanded wouldn't hurt, either.

St. Louis, Stamkos to see action on Lightning penalty kill 09/26/13 [Last modified: Friday, September 27, 2013 12:05am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Remember that ffamous Fred McGriiff TV commerical? He's back, in a parody

    Blogs

    If you've ever seen Fred McGriff's TV commerical for Tom Emanski's Defensive Drills video it will always be fresh in your mind, with the deadpan delivery and famously ill-fitting cap.

  2. Fennelly: Is Charlie Strong the anti-Freeze?

    College

    The Hugh Sleaze era at Ole Mess is over.

    Hugh Freeze resigned as head football coach Thursday to avoid being fired by Mississippi school officials. For those of you who had NCAA violations and investigations in the pool, you were wrong. Nor was it the defamation lawsuit filed against the school by former Rebels …

    FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2016, file photo, Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze pauses during a timeout in the team's NCAA college football game against Florida State in Orlando, Fla. Freeze has resigned after five seasons, bringing a stunning end to a once-promising tenure. The school confirmed Freeze's resignation in a release Thursday night. Assistant Matt Luke has been named the interim coach. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) NY176
  3. Rowdies part of a record-setting season for USL attendance

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — Although Rowdies fans haven't had many recent opportunities to show out at Al Lang, the United Soccer League turnstiles keep turning at a record rate.

    A Rowdies fan waves flags ahead of the first half of the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and Orlando City B at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Saturday, March 25, 2017.
  4. 'Deadliest Catch' captain talks reality TV, Snoop Dogg and Tampa Bay

    Outdoors

    Keith Colburn is best known as captain of the Wizard on the Discovery Network series Deadliest Catch. Colburn and crew go to battle in the Bering Sea working one of the deadliest jobs in America. A seasoned veteran, Keith has filmed 11 seasons of the show and is still going strong with his relief captain …

    Captain Keith Colburn is seen in this undated photo courtesy of the Discovery Channel. Courtesy of the Discovery Channel
  5. HomeTeam 100: Players 51-60

    Footballpreps

    TAMPA - Wharton defensive back AJ Hampton will help lead the Wildcats into the 2017 season. Taken 7-6-17 by Scott Purks