Friday, November 24, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Victor Hedman getting more minutes from Lightning

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA— D Victor Hedman said before this playoff series he wanted to play more minutes.

And the Lightning has granted him his wish. Hedman logged 30:02 in Tuesday's Game 4 win against the Red Wings, just the third time in his career he had played more than 30 minutes.

"He's our horse back there," coach Jon Cooper said. "I don't think we're the only team in the league that plays guys that amount of minutes. Especially with (Anton) Stralman out, Hedman has to carry more of the load. You look at some of the gifted players in the league that can do this, the Ryan Suters (Wild), the Duncan Keiths (Blackhawks), the Drew Doughtys (Kings), for some reason they've got another oxygen tank hidden in their bodies somewhere they can pull it off. 'Heddy' is one of those guys. Once again he was really big for us."

Hedman averaged 23 minutes during the regular season and went over 26 only six times. But Hedman played 28:56 in Game 1 of the first-round series against Detroit and 26 minutes in Game 3. Hedman played a team-high 25:30 in Thursday's series-clinching 1-0 win in Game 5.

The only other games in which he has played 30 minutes were overtime games, Game 2 against Montreal in the playoffs last year (career-high 31:32) and 30:45 against Boston in March.

Hedman said the key is hydrating between games and shortening his shifts, keeping them between 40 and 50 seconds if he can. "I feel like I can play my game," he said. "Obviously it's a little more challenging, but it's something I said earlier I want to do."

TAORMINA'S HOMECOMING: D Matt Taormina grew up 45 minutes from Detroit's Joe Louis Arena, so his playoff debut in Game 4 served as a homecoming for the Warren, Mich., native.

"I can't really put it into words, how I was feeling and how my parents felt watching the game," said Taormina, whose family had season tickets to the Red Wings when he was younger. "It was just an unbelievable experience."

Unbelievable but challenging. He played only four shifts and had 2:39 of ice time, so it was hard for him to get into a rhythm, though Cooper said Taormina "did everything we asked of him." Taormina said that little ice time provided a taste of playoff hockey and gave him enough time to savor the moment.

"You're used to being in the stands watching that, seeing all the games," Taormina said. "You kind of take it all in a little bit, but when your name's called, you've got to set it aside and just go."

johnson sick: C Tyler Johnson played only three shifts in the second period and appeared on the ice for 2:19. He returned to start the third. Cooper indicated he was sick. "Something is going through" the locker room and the Lightning needs to "get healthy," Cooper said.

TRIPLETS 2.0: After recording zero shots and only three shot attempts in Game 3, Johnson's line heated back up in Game 4. Johnson, LW Alex Killorn and RW Nikita Kucherov combined for 14 shots (plus seven more attempts) after regaining its focus and effort. "I think just our intensity (was different)," Johnson said. "I thought in Game 4, we worked a lot harder."

NUTS AND BOLTS: Taormina was scratched for Game 5. RW Erik Condra was in a 12-forward lineup.

Comments
Don’t forget Ryan Callahan in Lightning’s resurgence

Don’t forget Ryan Callahan in Lightning’s resurgence

WASHINGTON — Much has been made about the impact on the Lightning of a healthy C Steven Stamkos, who missed most of last season after knee surgery.But don’t forget about RW Ryan Callahan, 32, who is looking like his old self after hip problems plague...
Published: 11/23/17
Nikita Kucherov really does admire Patrick Kane

Nikita Kucherov really does admire Patrick Kane

TAMPA — Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov has watched plenty of film on Blackhawks star Patrick Kane.Kucherov marveled how the 2015-16 league MVP uses deception to "hide" from defenders. He noticed how patient Kane was with the puck, how well he passed ...
Published: 11/22/17
Lightning beats Blackhawks in OT

Lightning beats Blackhawks in OT

TAMPA — The Lightning entered Wednesday’s game against the Blackhawks determined to avoid its first losing streak of the season. And it did in dramatic fashion, with Brayden Point’s power-play goal in overtime lifting it to a 3-2 victory. "A big boun...
Published: 11/22/17

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Lightning-Blackhawks game

Every Lightning-Blackhawks game at Amalie Arena has a good representation of red in the stands. And Wednesday’s matchup was no exception, with a large contingent of transplants and travelers. "It feels like half the city of Chicago is traveling down ...
Published: 11/22/17

‘Good chance’ Cedric Paquette back for Lightning

For Cedric Paquette, the wait may finally be over.Paquette said there's a good chance he returns to the Lightning lineup tonight against the Blackhawks at Amalie Arena (7:30 p.m., NBCSN). Paquette had missed the last 13 games with an undisclosed inju...
Published: 11/22/17
Lightning-Blackhawks: Tampa Bay is killing it on penalty-killers

Lightning-Blackhawks: Tampa Bay is killing it on penalty-killers

BRANDON — A successful penalty kill begins long before the offending Lightning player, whistled two minutes earlier for some infraction, leaves the box with the score unchanged.It begins with a detailed scouting report of the opposing team’s power pl...
Published: 11/21/17
Lightning impressed with improved offense from defensemen

Lightning impressed with improved offense from defensemen

BRANDON — At one point during Saturday’s game against the Islanders, the Lightning was first in the NHL in points and second in points scored by its defensemen. That’s one reason the team is off to the best start in franchise history.It’s also by des...
Published: 11/20/17
Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

TAMPA — Jon Cooper stood at the podium late Saturday night to address the media after a regulation loss for only the third time this season."Let’s be honest," he said, "we’ve had one hell of a start."The loss, he added, was frustrating, even when you...
Published: 11/19/17
Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

TAMPA — The firepower showed up in the third period.Yanni Gourde and Ondrej Palat scored 13 seconds apart. Gourde scored again.Suddenly it was a one-goal game, and the Lightning appeared on its way to one of those comeback wins that would be remember...
Published: 11/18/17
Lightning journal: Jon Cooper thrilled with stellar start

Lightning journal: Jon Cooper thrilled with stellar start

TAMPA — If you told coach Jon Cooper his team would open the season with wins in 15 of the first 19 games, well, "I’m not sure I can sit here and say I would have predicted that," he said Saturday morning.But the Lightning did just that to lead the N...
Published: 11/18/17