Monday, April 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Teddy Purcell hopes playoffs revive game

TAMPA — In 2011, the last time the Lightning was in the playoffs, RW Teddy Purcell was a force with six goals and 17 points in 18 games.

So after "a grind" of a 2013-14 season that Purcell — with 12 goals and 42 points and minus-3 in 80 games — said "didn't go my way," perhaps the intensity of the postseason is what he needs to shake loose.

"It's so much easier to get up for games in the playoffs," Purcell said Tuesday. "It's a fun atmosphere."

It has been a sketchy season for Purcell, 28, who slowly slid down the depth chart and is on a fourth line with C Nate Thompson and Richard Panik.

Purcell has just two goals in his past 31 games, and both came March 20 against the Senators. He has just 13 hits and 12 blocked shots.

"That playoffs I was playing a lot, and our power play was clicking, and I was getting lucky bounces," Purcell said of 2011. "Hopefully you can get a bounce early and you can really feel that confidence, because that was what I was feeding off of."

ADDITIONS: Though coach Jon Cooper did not say it outright, C Valtteri Filppula and LW Ondrej Palat, the Lightning's two top scorers, were expected in the lineup tonight in Game 1 against the Canadiens.

"You saw them out there," Cooper said of practice. "Did they look okay to you?"

Filppula (lower body), tied for the team lead with 25 goals, was hurt Thursday against the Flyers. Palat, with a team-best 59 points, was hurt Friday against the Blue Jackets by a check from defenseman Jack Johnson that included contact with Palat's head.

KEEPING QUIET: G Ben Bishop, who injured his left elbow April 8 against Toronto and is wearing a wire brace, skated but not in full gear. There was no update on his condition.

JUST LIKE HOME: For Lightning C Alex Killorn and D Mark Barberio, both of whom grew up in Montreal's West Island, facing the Canadiens in the playoffs is extra special.

"Really exciting," Killorn said. "A lot of friends and family are going to be watching. I'm not sure how many of them will be rooting for me."

Said Barberio: "I've got some family that still won't change (to cheering for the Lightning)."

Killorn said he'd go to a few Canadiens games a season as a kid and almost always wore the jersey of his favorite player, Saku Koivu, while skating in a nearby park. Barberio said he watched "pretty much every game" on TV with his dad and feels fortunate he could play against his role model, D Andrei Markov.

Both said traveling to Montreal for Games 3 and 4 will be a huge thrill, considering what the town is like at playoff time. "Crazy atmosphere," Killorn said. "The whole town stops."

NO JUICE: The Canadiens have worked hard on a power play that is 0-for-23 in its past eight games. They scored 24 five-on-five goals in that stretch.

"I'm not too worried about it," C Lars Eller told Montreal reporters. "Most of the game is played five-on-five, and we've been getting more goals at even strength lately. We've had a good power play, and we're going to score on the power play, and the floodgates are going to open."

NO HARM: Not on the agenda, Cooper said, is paying back Canadiens D Douglas Murray, who was suspended for three games after he concussed Tampa Bay D Mike Kostka on April 1 with an elbow to the jaw.

"I don't think anybody is going to be focused on retribution," Cooper said. "It's time to go win hockey games, and Mike came out fine. I'm sure he'll have his head up the next time he tries to dance through there, but there is nothing on our end."

GETTING STARTED: For Cooper, the first five minutes are crucial to getting rid of the Game 1 jitters. The coach said he will play all four lines to give everyone a feel for the game.

"You want that shift to be short," Cooper said. "You want everyone to get a touch (of the puck), get a bump. Once you get that first one, everyone can exhale and go out and play the way we can play."

That strategy changes from the home team to visitor, Cooper said: "I'm sure Montreal says, 'We have to weather the first five minutes.' Tampa is going to come in and say, 'We've go to kick their (butts) in the first five minutes.' "

Times staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report.

Comments
Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Single-game tickets for the Lightning's Eastern Conference semifinal series go on sale to the general public at 1 p.m. Monday at nhl.com/lightning/tickets. The Lightning plays the winner of the Bruins-Maple Leafs series. Game 6 of that series is Mon...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning has answer for Devils and David Puddy

Lightning has answer for Devils and David Puddy

You knew those who work the scoreboard for the Lightning games at Amalie Arena would have an answer Saturday during Game 5 to the Devils using David Puddy during Game 4 at the Prudential Center. Puddy meets Homer Simpson. Actually, Puddy met Terry ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

TAMPA — As usual, Andrei Vasilevskiy didn't speak in front of the cameras after the game. He has been like that since he hit the NHL. He still isn't comfortable with his English on TV.But Vasilevskiy spoke loudly and clearly in the first-round ...
Published: 04/22/18
Lightning-Devils: Grading Tampa Bay’s clinching 3-1 victory in Game 5

Lightning-Devils: Grading Tampa Bay’s clinching 3-1 victory in Game 5

TAMPA — Closers.That's what the Lightning looked like as it closed out the New Jersey Devils in five games with a 3-1 win Saturday.Nikita Kucherov's star power blazed again, the defense controlled the game and not even Jersey goaltend...
Published: 04/21/18
Updated: 04/22/18
Maple Leafs force Game 6 with Bruins

Maple Leafs force Game 6 with Bruins

BOSTON — Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk scored 1:19 apart in the second period, and then the Maple Leafs killed off a 5-on-3 and three more power plays in a row to beat the Bruins 4-3 in Game 5 on Saturday night and avoid playoff eliminatio...
Published: 04/21/18
Lightning-Devils: How the NHL’s top offense went on the defensive

Lightning-Devils: How the NHL’s top offense went on the defensive

TAMPA — It was a couple of days after the Lightning beat the Bruins at home late in the regular season when associate coach Rick Bowness talked about how the defensive effort used in that shutout victory was the one the Lightning would need in ...
Published: 04/21/18
Rookie? Lightning D Mikhail Sergachev’s playing like a seasoned pro

Rookie? Lightning D Mikhail Sergachev’s playing like a seasoned pro

TAMPA — Pardon Mikhail Sergachev if he isn't so good at one of hockey's greatest traditions. After all, growing a Stanley Cup playoff beard isn't easy when you're still just a teenager.As he stood in the Lightning locker room Saturday evening w...
Published: 04/21/18
Roger Mooney’s takeaways from the Lightning’s first-round series

Roger Mooney’s takeaways from the Lightning’s first-round series

TAMPA — In the postseason, teams want to bank days off so they are as fresh as can be for the next round. That's why it was so important for the Lightning to close out Jersey in five. The fewer the games, the less wear and tear on the body, les...
Published: 04/21/18
Lightning stays patient, even through 0-for-5 power-play drought

Lightning stays patient, even through 0-for-5 power-play drought

TAMPA — The Lightning so dominated the second period Saturday that the Devils had more penalties (five) than shots on goal (four), and yet Tampa Bay was unable to build on a 1-0 lead as they sought to clinch the opening-round series.Nowhere was...
Published: 04/21/18
Nikita Kucherov’s goal sets Lightning playoff series scoring record

Nikita Kucherov’s goal sets Lightning playoff series scoring record

TAMPA — After clinging to a 1-0 lead for more than two periods Saturday, the Lightning got a long-awaited cushion — and ultimately the winning goal — when Nikita Kucherov scored with 7:33 left in the final period of a 3-1 victo...
Published: 04/21/18