Lightning's J.T. Brown praised despite his few goals

TAMPA — Lightning coach Jon Cooper said he was really rooting for J.T. Brown to score on his penalty shot Saturday against New Jersey's Martin Brodeur. Not just because Tampa Bay needed the goal, but because Brown needs one to, perhaps, open the gates.

Brown hasn't scored in 29 games. But Cooper said that is the only missing piece of the rookie right wing's game.

"You've got to feel for him," Coo­per said. "But it's not something that we're saying J.T. Brown isn't scoring, he shouldn't be playing.

"You look at everything else he does. He gets pucks 200 feet. He makes the D have to turn. He gets pucks into great areas where our forecheck gets set up. He's a spark plug."

Brown had an assist in Monday's 4-3 win over the Canucks. But he also was caught in no-man's land on Alexandre Burrows' third-period goal that cut Vancouver's deficit to 4-2 and then sat for seven minutes.

Mistakes are going to happen, but they are easier to take when contributing offensively.

"Yeah, there are times when it's more frustrating than not," said Brown, who has four goals and 15 points in 49 games. "But if you're getting the chances, you're doing something right and, eventually, it will come."

The penalty shot against Brodeur was an opportunity, and Brown had an opening. But Brodeur, a future Hall of Famer, made a left-arm save.

"If you say you'd do things differently, then you start second-guessing and thinking about what you're going to do and not getting a shot off," Brown said. "I got off a good attempt. He just made a better save."

CUP CRAZY: About the 10th anniversary celebration of the Lightning's 2004 Stanley Cup, Cooper said, "For our guys to listen to the stories … we have a hungry group, but that would make you hungrier."

HIT OR BE HIT: Thompson said he had no ill effects from Saturday's violent, open-ice collision with New Jersey's Anton Volchenkov. In fact, Volchenkov, who initiated the contact, went down and limped off the ice.

Thompson said he used a "reverse hit." That is, he saw Volchenkov coming, braced and exploded into his opponent.

"You try to surprise them, have a good stance and kind of reverse hit them," Thompson said. “He got a good lick in, but I did see him coming and was able to give it back at the same time."

SIZE MATTERS: After being scratched in four straight games, wings Ryan Malone (6 feet 4, 224 pounds) and B.J. Crombeen (6-2, 209) played a second straight. Cooper said he believes their big bodies can "wear (teams) down a little bit" in the offensive zone.

ODDS AND ENDS: LW Ondrej Palat, with a goal and assist against Vancouver, has four goals and five assists in a five-game points streak. … G Ben Bishop extended his team record to 32 wins. … Tampa Bay is on a 3-0-1 streak at home against the Canucks. … Forwards Nikita Kucherov and Richard Panik and defensemen Mark Barberio and Keith Aulie were scratched.

Lightning's J.T. Brown praised despite his few goals 03/17/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 12:23am]

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