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Cooper wants more Stamkos selfishness

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) moves the puck into the neutral zone during the third period of Saturday’s (11/29/14) game at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) moves the puck into the neutral zone during the third period of Saturday’s (11/29/14) game at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
Published Dec. 7, 2014

TAMPA — With one more goal, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will reach 250 in his career, making him one of the youngest players in history to do so.

But though Stamkos, 24, entered Saturday tied for second in the NHL with 16 goals, coach Jon Cooper would like him to be a little more "selfish" and shoot more. Cooper said Stamkos has become "more of a passer," especially since longtime linemate Marty St. Louis was traded in March, and that has "rounded out his game."

"Still, I don't want to ever confuse Steven Stamkos with Adam Oates," Cooper said of one of the most prolific passers.

"He's a shooter, and we want him to continue to shoot the puck, because not a lot of guys are as gifted putting the puck in the net, and that's what we want him doing."

Stamkos has said he'd like to adopt the "shoot-first mentality" that Capitals star Alex Ovechkin has. Stamkos was 11th in the league in shots at 87, nearly 20 behind the leader, Ovechkin (111).

Stamkos has had some of his biggest games when he has shot more (12 in getting a hat trick Oct. 13 vs Montreal, seven in a two-goal night against the Flyers on Oct. 30). But he lamented after racking up just six combined shots in a recent four-game stretch that he was trying to be "too cute." Thursday in a 5-0 win over the Sabres, Stamkos had four shots, one goal and two assists. He had three shots and no points in Saturday's 3-1 loss to the Blue Jackets.

SIN BIN: The surprising stat of the season: Though the Lightning and Sabres combined for 110 penalty minutes Thursday, D Radko Gudas had zero. "It's rare that happens," Cooper said. "To watch the parade to the penalty box and actually still see Gudas on our bench, it was similar to me scoring a hat trick in the NHL." Gudas said he's trying to be smarter in terms of taking penalties, especially retaliatory ones. Gudas entered Saturday with a team-high 32 penalty minutes; last season he had 152. "In this league, anything can happen," Gudas said. "A stupid penalty can change the game."

DROUIN WATCH: The Lightning has been impressed with rookie LW Jonathan Drouin's skills and work ethic. "Kind of freakish talent, unbelievable. He's coming along awesome," C Brian Boyle said. As long as Drouin plays, it is more likely he won't be loaned to Canada for the world junior championship this month.

ICE CHIPS: The lineup Saturday was the same as Thursday's, with RW J.T. Brown and D Mark Barberio scratched. … RW Ryan Callahan and D Victor Hedman were alternate captains for the third straight game. … C Vladislav Namestnikov has two goals and three assists in two games since getting sent down to AHL Syracuse. … G Andrei Vasilevskiy had his first AHL shutout (34 saves) in a 2-0 win against Rochester on Saturday. … D Mattias Ohlund (knee), on long-term injured reserve, recently worked with Syracuse players. Crunch GM Julien BriseBois said the team was taking advantage of Ohlund's experience, plus helping him figure out what he wants to do post-career.