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Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos says playoffs making him more complete player

TAMPA — Lightning C Steven Stamkos' name has been, and likely always will be, synonymous with scoring.

Last year's co-winner of the Rocket Richard Trophy for being the league goals leader has tallied 45 or more in two of his first three seasons.

Stamkos did pick up three points Wednesday in the 5-4 Game 6 win over the Bruins in the Eastern Conference final, including a power-play goal. That's one fewer point than he had in the first five games combined.

Stamkos is fifth on the team in the playoffs with 13 points. But more than scoring, Stamkos and coach Guy Boucher believe the postseason has accelerated his growth as a complete player.

"I think he's been terrific," Boucher said. "I think he's learned … if he keeps it up, he's going to be a real winner. There's a difference between being a winner and a star, and I think he's figured that out."

Stamkos, 21, said there has been a "learning curve" in his first playoffs, understanding how to handle the mental and physical grind while sacrificing his body. The kind of scoring chances he got in the regular season are not always there, so Stamkos has had to find different ways to contribute.

"It's not about yourself in the playoffs; it's about getting wins," Stamkos said. "If you can find a way to help your team by scoring a goal, that's great, but if you can block a shot, it's just as great.

"I think you just learn that you have to play a solid game in every area. That's something I've always tried to do ever since I was a kid, but I think I've grown a lot more as a complete player in these playoffs."

His teammates have noticed. "From the first series to now, he's really picked up his game every series," Vinny Lecavalier said. "Overall, just doing the little things to make the team better."

MEDICAL MATTERS: LW Sean Bergenheim didn't play due to an undisclosed injury sustained in Game 5. Bergenheim missed the second and third periods Monday. He appeared to get hurt when he was checked behind the Bruins' net in the first period by D Dennis Seidenberg. Boucher said the injury is not acute but something that had been lingering and was aggravated. In Bergenheim's absence, centers Blair Jones and Dana Tyrell were in the lineup.

Bergenheim has the third-most goals in these playoffs, trailing only teammate Marty St. Louis and Boston's David Krejci, who have 10.

HIS CALL: Boucher said Wednesday morning he was "very aware" that Game 6 referee Eric Furlatt had been lopsided in how many penalties he called against the Lightning in his previous four games involving the team; penalties were 29-14 against Tampa Bay. But Boucher said the team had to worry about what it could control on the ice and "hope things will be fair like it is with everybody else."

After the game, Bruins coach Claude Julien appeared to take issue with Boucher commenting on an official before the game, saying he hoped it didn't have an impact (both teams were called for five penalties), "because if it did, I'd be disappointed."

Julien said he would disagree with a lot of the calls Wednesday.

"When you hear what happened (Wednesday), it certainly makes things look even worse," Julien said of Boucher's comments. "Referees have a tough job to do. One thing you don't want to do is criticize them."

Boucher said afterward he didn't bring the referee subject up, he was asked about it. And he pointed out the Bruins had one more power play, including three before the Lightning had one. "So I don't know who got the advantage (Wednesday)," Boucher said.

miscellany: Backup Mike Smith said he understood G Dwayne Roloson getting the start. "Roli got us this far," Smith said. … RW Teddy Purcell's goal 36 seconds in was the third time Tampa Bay scored in the first 70 seconds this playoffs.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos says playoffs making him more complete player 05/25/11 [Last modified: Thursday, May 26, 2011 12:37am]
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