Monday, July 16, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Victor Hedman getting more minutes from Lightning

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
Here’s our Mount Rushmore for the Lightning

Here’s our Mount Rushmore for the Lightning

The Lightning just celebrated its 25th anniversary season — long enough to have a Mount Rushmore.Here it is:Marty St. Louis (2000-14)St. Louis is the all-time franchise leader in points and the only Lightning player to make the Hall of Fame aft...
Published: 07/13/18
Lightning names AHL’s Derek Lalonde as new assistant

Lightning names AHL’s Derek Lalonde as new assistant

The Lightning has completed Jon Cooper's coaching staff for the upcoming season, announcing on Thursday the hiring of Derek Lalonde, who spent the last two seasons as head coach of the American Hockey League's Iowa Wild.Lalonde, 45, has steadily work...
Published: 07/12/18
Lightning re-signs left wing Adam Erne to one-year contract

Lightning re-signs left wing Adam Erne to one-year contract

A busy few weeks of re-signing players continued Wednesday, as the Lightning brought back the last of their restricted free agents, signing left wing Adam Erne to a one-year, $800,000 contract for 2018-19.Erne, 23, was a second-round pick in 2013 and...
Published: 07/11/18
Lightning locks up Nikita Kucherov with 8-year, $76 million extension

Lightning locks up Nikita Kucherov with 8-year, $76 million extension

CLEARWATER — Nikita Kucherov could have waited a year, allowing the demand for a top young NHL scorer to escalate as he hit restricted free agency next summer.But when the Lightning made him an offer to become the highest-paid player in the tea...
Published: 07/10/18
Lightning signs Nikita Kucherov to richest contract in team history

Lightning signs Nikita Kucherov to richest contract in team history

The Lightning took another step toward securing its future Tuesday by announcing that right wing Nikita Kucherov will sign the richest contract in franchise history.Kucherov's eight-year contract extension will pay him an average of $9.5 million star...
Published: 07/10/18
Kucherov signing helps Lightning finish what it started

Kucherov signing helps Lightning finish what it started

TAMPA — The Erik Karlsson sweepstakes hasn't ended for the Lightning.But the Nikita Kucherov sweepstakes is over before it began.The Lightning has locked up its star right winger. An eight-year extension that begins in the 2019-20 season will p...
Published: 07/10/18
Meet the girl behind the Marty St. Louis sign

Meet the girl behind the Marty St. Louis sign

ST. PETERSBURG — When the call from the Hall came, there she was again.The girl with the "I (heart) U Marty" sign, in the newspaper again, this time on the cover of the June 27 Tampa Bay Times sports section. She was frozen in time, doing what ...
Published: 07/07/18
What might Lightning give up to get Erik Karlsson?

What might Lightning give up to get Erik Karlsson?

TAMPA — Shortly after the excitement of the real possibility Thursday night that the Lightning could be trading for defenseman Erik Karlsson, fans quickly came to an uneasy place: What exactly would Tampa Bay give up to get the two-time Norris ...
Published: 07/06/18
The Lightning advantage in Erik Karlsson trade talks

The Lightning advantage in Erik Karlsson trade talks

He wants to be here.This is the place.In case you'd missed it amid the gloom and doom of a Lightning season that came up short again, there are still people who want to play in Tampa Bay.One of them is Erik Sven Gunnar Karlsson of Landsbro, Sweden. T...
Published: 07/06/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Will the Lightning trade for Erik Karlsson?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Will the Lightning trade for Erik Karlsson?

Rick Stroud returns from vacation to discuss reports that the Lightning will acquire star defenseman Erik Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators.He also talks about reaction to Jameis Winston's three-game suspension, the Rays' crazy home stand and which p...
Published: 07/06/18