Saturday, August 18, 2018


Joe Smith, Times staff writer

Joe Smith became the Tampa Bay Lightning beat writer for the Tampa Bay Times in 2014. He spent the previous six years splitting time covering the Rays, Bucs and Lightning He joined the Times in 2006 after spending two years with the Modesto Bee in California, where he did everything from covering the Single-A Modesto Nuts minor league baseball team and high school football to tackling first-person stories on whitewater rafting and adventure racing. Smith grew up in the Detroit suburbs and attended the University of Michigan, where he covered the football, basketball and hockey teams for the Michigan Daily. He freelanced for the Associated Press and Detroit Free Press before securing internships at Crain's Detroit Business and the Raleigh News & Observer. An avid runner, Smith loves traveling, bowling and singing karaoke.

Cedric Paquette scores a goal against the Rangers'  Ondrej Pavelec in Friday's 7-3 win. (Associated Press)

Cedric Paquette making case for playoff lineup spot

NEW YORK – The Lightning's first goal Friday was vintage Cedric Paquette.The 2014-15 version.Paquette, a pest when he's at his best, darted into the corner to keep a puck alive in the Rangers' zone early in the second period.
Updated: 5 months ago
Backup goaltender Louis Domingue has won seven of 10 starts with Tampa Bay (six on the road). (Associated Press)

Joe Smith takeaway’s from Lightning win over Rangers

1. Kudos to Steven Stamkos for his first-period fight. Stamkos, the unlikely Lightning leader in penalty minutes, came to the defense of Nikita Kucherov, who took a knee-area hit from the Rangers' Pavel Buchnevich. It cost Stamkos 17...
Updated: 5 months ago
Cedric Paquette is charged up after his second goal of the game gives the Lightning a 4-1 lead in the second period after trailing 1-0. (Getty Images)

Stamkos fight sparks Lightning win

NEW YORK — Captain Steven Stamkos said his ongoing joke with teammates is that it's "embarrassing" he leads the Lightning in penalty minutes. And it's not close."We're not that team that has that big fighter," Stamkos said.But...
Updated: 5 months ago
Cedric Paquette, middle, scores twice against the Rangers, and J.T. Miller gets his ninth goal since joining the Lightning in a trade at last month's deadline. (Getty Images)

Lightning’s scoring touches return

NEW YORK — With the Lightning entering Friday in a scoring slump — by its standards, at least — coach Jon Cooper wasn't pushing the panic button."These guys know how to put the puck in the net," he said before the game against...
Updated: 5 months ago
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) skates up the ice with center Anthony Cirelli (71) during the second period of Saturday's game vs. the Canadiens. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

A ‘weird’ Rangers reunion tonight for Lightning

NEW YORK — Lightning defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi popped into a Starbucks on their way into Madison Square Garden on Friday afternoon. And the former Rangers, who were set to face their old team at the Garden for the first time since...
Updated: 5 months ago
In this file photo, Dan Girardi #5 (l) of the New York Rangers celbartes his goal at 36 seconds of the second period along with Ryan McDonagh #27 (r) against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden on April 6, 2015 in New York City. Girardi is now a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and according to NHL trade rumors the team has show interested in McDonagh.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

What Ryan McDonagh should expect in Rangers reunion

NEW YORK – Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh isn't sure what it'll feel like to return to Madison Square Garden Friday.It's the former Rangers captain's first game back since the Feb.26 blockbuster deal to Tampa Bay. But one person who...
Updated: 5 months ago
Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy skates down ice toward Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask as he is held back by an official after Rask was charged with roughing the Lightning's Cory Conacher,  starting a melee during the second period. Vasilevskiy got an unsportsmanlike conduct. penalty (Associated Press)

Joe Smith’s takeaways from the Lightning’s loss to the Bruins

No idea how the Bruins got a power play out of the Tuukka Rask melee. Cory Conacher got shoved into the crease and defended himself when Rask hit him in the back of the head. Conacher got interference and roughing penalties. It’s puzzling...
Updated: 5 months ago
Steven Stamkos, in action against the Bruins on March 17, returned to the lineup for Thursday's game at Boston after sitting out Monday's game against the Coyotes with a nagging injury. (Associated Press)

Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman in Lightning lineup to face Bruins

BOSTON — The Lightning played arguably its biggest regular-season game of the year Thursday against the Bruins.And it felt fortunate to have two of its biggest stars, F Steven Stamkos and D Victor Hedman, in the lineup.Hedman had...
Updated: 5 months ago
Lightning center Anthony Cirelli, right, and Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask stretch for the puck during a third-period sequence that leads to a Lightning goal that is disallowed on a goaltender interference call against Cirelli. (Associated Press)

Lightning falls out of first in division

BOSTON — If the Lightning ends up going on a deep playoff run this summer, the image of goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy charging the length of the ice Thursday to challenge Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask will go down in franchise lore.There's still...
Updated: 5 months ago
Steven Stamkos gets set for a faceoff during Tuesday's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Amalie Arena. [Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]

Lightning excited for ‘barometer’ game vs. Bruins

The Lightning will play arguably its biggest regular season game of the year tonight in Boston against the Bruins, which are just one point behind for the Atlantic Division lead.And the good news is stars Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman were...
Updated: 5 months ago