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)

Tampa Bay Lightning: Power play looks okay everywhere but scoreboard

Lightning rookie center Steven Stamkos, right, has seen more time lately on the power-play unit.


Lightning rookie center Steven Stamkos, right, has seen more time lately on the power-play unit.

BRANDON — With three straight victories, and four in five games, things are looking up for the Lightning. To find the power play, though, you have to look down.

Tampa Bay entered Monday tied with Florida for last in the league at 11.4 percent (5-for-44).

"We have to keep working on it and keep practicing it," coach Barry Melrose said at the Ice Sports Forum. "The good news is we're winning without it. If it ever starts cooking, it'll be good news for us."

It is difficult to pinpoint the problem. Both power-play units move the puck fairly well and generate opportunities to shoot, though shots aren't always getting to the net.

Take Saturday's 1:46 five-on-three against the Senators in which Melrose counted "five quality chances." Only one shot, officially, was counted as on goal.

Installing RW Marty St. Louis as the quarterback has helped boost puck movement and generate chances. Putting rookie C Steven Stamkos on the first unit, part of a four-forward strategy, has provided flair and a presence in front of the net.

But Melrose said he wants St. Louis to be "selfish" and use his big shot more from the point. He also wants Vinny Lecavalier to pass a bit more, perhaps down low to Vinny Prospal, or carry the puck to the net instead of relying on the one-timer.

Not that the one-timer is a bad play, Melrose said, "But not every time. It's not there every time. For every time I've seen it work, it's been intercepted or blocked or missed the net. It's definitely part of the weaponry, but we'd like to have other things.

"If Vinny takes it to the net, the defensive guys will come down and that will open up St. Louis or (Paul) Ranger on the back door. We just have to have more variety on the power play."

IT'S NOT ENOUGH: That is what St. Louis said about his one goal and 21 shots in 10 games.

"I'm a shooter," St. Louis said. "I'm trying to get myself into position where I can shoot the puck more. Sometimes it's hard."

It was hard against Ottawa, as he had no shots. More to his liking was Thursday's four-shot, three-post effort against the Sabres.

"I'd like to get that kind of game more often than one out of every 10," he said. "I need to get those games every two or three games."

Considering St. Louis averaged one shot through five games and is now up to 2.1, he grudgingly conceded, "It's an improvement. But I still need to improve. Two shots a game is not enough for me, like one goal after 10 games is not enough."

QUICK DRAW: C Chris Gratton entered Monday third in the league with a 63.6 winning percentage on faceoffs. He credits a stiffer stick shaft that lets him lean harder on the blade and into an opponent.

"A bigger guy, using a stiffer shaft, you can attack the opponent with more power," he said.

MASK AUCTIONS: Bids can be made on G Mike Smith's Saw V mask until 11:30 tonight, after which Olaf Kolzig's mask will be available. See, click on auctions and go to the masks (bidding reached $3,150 by Monday night). Proceeds from Smith's mask go to the Lightning Foundation, from Kolzig's to Athletes Against Autism.

ODDS AND ENDS: Melrose said RW Radim Vrbata (groin) is about "95 percent." … F Ryan Craig on Saturday's game, his first, because of injuries, since Nov. 10: "It's good to feel part of the team. When you're injured, even if you're here, you don't feel part of the team." … Devils G Martin Brodeur (elbow) might not play Wednesday against Tampa Bay.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at

Tampa Bay Lightning: Power play looks okay everywhere but scoreboard 11/03/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 4, 2008 12:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays journal: Erasmo Ramirez ready to start a day after closing game

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — RHP Erasmo Ramirez was on the mound to finish Sunday's 15-inning marathon win over the Twins and will start tonight's game against the Rangers.

    The Rays’ Erasmo Ramirez throws 12 pitches in the 15th inning against the Twins to earn the save then says after the game that he’s ready to make his scheduled start against the Rangers: “My arm feels good.”
  2. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  3. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  4. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    The Rays won because they got two innings of good relief from each of the two pitchers who contributed to them losing Saturday's game, Danny Farquhar (who again struck out Miguel Sano) and Tommy Hunter, who both posted zeroes.