Lightning break out into special teams during training camp

The team worked on the power play for much of the first half of Saturday's session, with some penalty-kill groups added in the mix, too.
Lightning center Tyler Johnson, left, talks with center Brayden Point during a break at Amalie Arena on July 15, 2020.
Lightning center Tyler Johnson, left, talks with center Brayden Point during a break at Amalie Arena on July 15, 2020. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published July 18, 2020|Updated July 18, 2020

TAMPA — If one thing has been made obvious during Lightning training camp, it’s that special teams will be an emphasis ahead of the playoffs.

After working on the power play Friday, Tampa Bay spent Saturday on the power play again, with penalty-kill work added later in the session.

Before the session actually began, 12 players hit the ice to work on the power play with assistant coaches Jeff Halpern and Todd Richards.

The power-play groups resembled a similar flow as they did before the four-month shutdown. The first group — Victor Hedman, Brayden Point, Alex Killorn, Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov — worked with the second group — Mikhail Sergachev, Yanni Gourde, Patrick Maroon, Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson — against goaltenders Andrei Vasilevskiy and Curtis McElhinney.

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When the rest of the team, minus Cedric Paquette, joined the power-play group, it broke out into a normal warmup before working in the penalty-kill lineups.

The penalty-kill broke out into many units, likely testing the possibility that multiple players can fill into different spots if needed. For instance, if Paquette is unable to play, Mitchell Stephens could fill in.

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One of the main penalty-kill groups consisted of Killorn, Anthony Cirelli, Ryan McDonagh and Erik Cernak. Another main group consisted of Blake Coleman, Barclay Goodrow, Kevin Shattenkirk and Jan Rutta.

In the second half of the season, the Lightning’s power play hit a slump without Stamkos in that core group. Stamkos’ last game started the stretch of 5-for-25 on the power play over eight games.

“I think a big part of that was missing Stammer and trying to adjust without him,” Point said during Saturday’s Zoom video conference. “Hopefully we have him back. I think simplifying is a big (factor). Sometimes you try to get cute and overpass and try to look for the perfect play, and sometimes just getting the puck to the net is the play.”

Contact Mari Faiello at Follow @faiello_mari.