Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Steven Stamkos hits hot streak for Lightning

Steven Stamkos has seven goals (four on the power play) and 10 points in his past seven, including his seventh career hat trick March 19 at Toronto.


Steven Stamkos has seven goals (four on the power play) and 10 points in his past seven, including his seventh career hat trick March 19 at Toronto.

TAMPA — There are days, Steven Stamkos admitted, that his right leg still can be painful.

"But not painful that you have to worry about it," the Lightning captain said.

Painful enough, though, that it is a reminder that the fractured right tibia, which sidelined Stamkos for four months, probably won't be completely healed until next season.

Stamkos last week in Toronto even met with his trainer, former Lightning player Gary Roberts, to talk about a summer program to strengthen the leg while limiting some high-impact activities such as the extensive running and sprinting Stamkos usually does.

"I'm going to have to change a few things up," Stamkos, 24, said, "but I'm looking forward to that challenge."

As for the challenge of integrating himself into the lineup after missing 45 games, that could not have gone much better.

After going without a point in his first three games, Stamkos has seven goals (four on the power play) and 10 points in his past seven, including his seventh career hat trick March 19 at Toronto and a baseball-swing goal Monday against the Senators that was the No. 2 play of the day on ESPN's SportsCenter.

Stamkos, at the side of the net, waited for a floating puck to fall below the crossbar before choking up on his stick and bunting it past goalie Robin Lehner.

"That's not a good play," coach Jon Cooper said. "That's an elite play."

Stamkos called it "an instinctual play" and, for a laugh, held a baseball bat on his right shoulder as he answered questions.

Stamkos was a pretty good pitcher and shortstop back in Unionville, Ontario, where he played baseball until he was about 14.

"So, maybe those were baseball instincts," he said. "When you choke up, it gives you a better chance to make contact."

But Cooper saw a hockey play.

"What I liked was he was sniffing around the net," he said. "We get a shot, he wasn't sitting there waiting in his one-time spot (in the left faceoff circle). He was engaged. He had a feel for where the puck would be and was hanging around the doorstep."

Stamkos has scored 21 goals in 27 games this season. Extrapolate that pace over an 82-game season and he scores 64.

His biggest adjustment: playing without longtime linemate Marty St. Louis, who was traded March 5 to the Rangers.

He has been playing with wings Teddy Purcell and Alex Killorn, and that combination is expected to be continue tonight against the Islanders at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

"It's different playing without Marty; let's not kid ourselves," Stamkos said. "When I played with Marty, he was the guy who wanted the puck all the time, and I would do anything I could to get the puck in his hands and then tried to get open. … We were off the rush transition.

"Now, playing with different guys who have different styles, maybe I've got to not be up ice as much. Maybe it's staying a little lower and getting the puck yourself and coming up the ice.

As Killorn said, "He's going to have the puck on his stick a lot more."

The way Stamkos is going, that's not a bad strategy.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected]

. Tonight

Lightning vs. Islanders

When/where: 7:30; Tampa Bay Times Forum.

TV/radio: Sun Sports; 970-AM

Key stats: Tampa Bay has points in nine straight games (5-0-4). … Lightning C Valtteri Filppula has four goals, nine assists in a nine-game points streak. … Tampa Bay's power play is 9-for-29 in its past seven games. … The Islanders are 17-17-1 on the road but are on a 13-4-1 streak. … New York has a league-best eight wins when trailing after two periods. … Islanders LW Matt Martin has a league-most 310 hits.

Go Green Night: Free valet service on Thunder Alley (west plaza) for those who bike to the game. … Donate new and used sports equipment for underprivileged youths.

Steven Stamkos hits hot streak for Lightning 03/26/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 10:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Fennelly: Longtime Bucs fans, we want to hear from you


    Calling all Bucs fans! Calling all Bucs fans!

    Jameis Winston is pressured by Chandler Jones during the Bucs' loss to the Cardinals Sunday in Glendale, Ariz.
  2. A punter is the state's only first-team, midseason All-American


    Here's another indictment of how mediocre the state's college football season has become.

  3. HomeTeam 25: Football rankings for Tampa Bay


    1. Armwood (7-0)

    Up next: vs. Brandon

    Armwood quarterback Devin Black (7) shakes hands with Plant defensive back Keon King (26) after the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017. The Hawks beat the Panthers 27-7.
  4. Today he secures Bucs games; 30 years ago he played in them


    TAMPA —- Whenever the Bucs play a home game, Sankar Montoute is on hand to supervise more than 50 officers from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office on duty at Raymond James Stadium.

    Sankar Montoute, who oversees Homeland Security for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, was a replacement player for the Bucs during the 1987 strike. 
Montoute, who had a sack and interception in the same NFL game, oversees the 50-plus officers who work at Bucs games, most of whom have no idea he played. [Times files (1987)]
  5. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Looking back at what went wrong


    In his latest Cannon Fodder podcast, Greg Auman says Monday brought good news relating to Jameis Winston's shoulder injury.

    A frustrated Mike Evans sits on the bench during the second half of the Bucs' loss to the Cardinals Sunday in Arizona. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]