Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Steven Stamkos wants no special treatment to help him hit 60 goals

TAMPA — To teammates who want badly to help Steven Stamkos reach 60 goals, the Lightning center has a message:

Don't change your game.

"I don't want guys passing up opportunities and looking for me and forcing it if it's not there," Stamkos said Monday.

He is a realist, though.

"No matter what I say they're going to look for me," said Stamkos, 22, who has a league-best 58 goals. "That's the type of guys we have on our team."

That loyalty appeared Saturday against the Jets as Teddy Purcell, a wing on Stamkos' line, admitted to his teammate during a television timeout he unsuccessfully tried to get a couple of passes to him through traffic.

"I told him he probably should have shot," Stamkos said.

"Coach said the same thing," Purcell said. "If you shoot it, maybe he'll be there for a tip-in or get a rebound instead of forcing it through a couple of sticks."

For Marty St. Louis, Stamkos' other line mate, that Stamkos already passed 50 goals changes the dynamic.

"If he was at 49, I would slow the game down sometimes just to find him," St. Louis said. "At (58), I'm just playing the game and not forcing things; just keep doing what we're doing and he's going to get his chances. It's just a matter of if he puts them in."

Whatever happens, Purcell said of the pursuit, "It's awesome, not only to be on his team and his line, but to help him try to get there. It's exciting."

SUCCESS, AGAIN: Coach Guy Boucher did not want to say too many good things about RW J.T. Brown before his second NHL game. That's because he played so well in his first.

"I know what happens," Boucher said. "When you start doing that you get a nice page in the newspaper, and the game after that he's awful."

Boucher needn't have worried as Brown was solid again with five shots on goal and a blocked shot in 11:45 of ice time.

"He pulled off three or four moves not many guys can pull, and he did it in the NHL with no experience," Boucher said.

One third-period sequence stood out as Brown carried the puck into the offensive zone and smartly deked around Capitals C Mathieu Perreault. When the play went the other way, he hustled to the defensive zone to break up a potential Capitals three-on-two.

"You've got to go back as hard as you go forward," Brown said.

"To me it just means he's a more mature kid than just a youngster coming in at 18," Boucher said. "He's 21 and he's already figured out this game is played both ways. When you got somebody that understands that, coach has a tendency to give you more ice time."

MEDICAL MATTERS: F Adam Hall (upper body) skated in the morning with a red no-contact jersey. Hall said he would like to play again this season. Boucher said he does not believe Hall will be ready but did not rule it out: "I wouldn't be surprised if he lied the next two or three days to get in the lineup. If he lies and I'm convinced, we'll see then."

ODDS AND ENDS: D Victor Hedman has a career-best five goals. … Expect G Sebastien Caron to start one of the final three road games. … The Lightning is 6-10-2 with a tie in home closers. … Defensemen Mike Commodore and Bruno Gervais were healthy scratches.

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