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Tampa Bay’s charge up the standings is a one-line attack

Mar 6, 2012, 9:01 AM EDT

Teddy Purcell, Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis Getty Images

When you look at how quickly the Tampa Bay Lightning have risen up through the Eastern Conference, it’s incredible to think of how they’re doing it. Sure, Mathieu Garon is playing well enough in goal, but this is a team missing one of their big players in Vincent Lecavalier and traded away one of their better forwards in Steve Downie.

The Lightning’s top line, instead, has become a force of nature so to speak. Steve Stamkos centering Teddy Purcell and Martin St. Louis gives Tampa Bay the kind of attack they’ve needed all season to keep the offense rolling along. As Erik Erlendsson of The Tampa Tribune hears from Stamkos, it’s something they’re doing because they have to.

“We know the situation we are in, we lost some good players at the deadline, had injuries to key players and we know that everyone has to step up, including ourselves,” Stamkos said. “We’ve had a good stretch here and we’ve been able to produce, so I think we are heading into games expecting that of ourselves and we like that pressure.”

What kind of fortune are the trio having? Erlendsson shares that since Lecavalier went down on February 21, they’ve factored in on 16 of the team’s last 21 goals and adding 22 assists. Most impressive. If this line can keep producing like this and play like an offensive wrecking ball, the postseason might just be in their future. With Stamkos playing out of his mind this season, they’d prove to be a dangerous team in the opening round.

  1. ravenscaps48 - Mar 6, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    Marty and Stammer are Superstars… But Teddy Purcell, I think, is one of the more underrated players in the league

    • hystoracle - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      Teddy Purcell’s biggest nemesis has been himself. The guy has all the tools just hasn’t brought a consistent effort. Around Christmas the light went on, He’s been much more consistent and it is starting to show up on the stat sheet. If he continues to play like this the Lightning have a shot (at playoffs).

  2. jpelle82 - Mar 6, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    purcell is good, but i think he gets appropriate recognition as the 3rd wheel. kinda like kunitz playing with neal and malkin. fans in pittsburgh believe kunitz is one of the most underrated guys in the league too. both purcell and kunitz are necessary for the line to work the way it does and both have intangibles that make them solid 1st line contributers, but both clearly benefit on the stat sheet from the players around them

  3. lsxphotog - Mar 6, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    It’s a pretty good system when your other three lines don’t make mistakes and keep defensive pressure. If they’re frustrated with lines 2, 3, and 4 are on the ice, the opponent is more likely to make a mistake when the big guns come out. With Vinny back in the lineup they can press with two lines, though. Fingers crossed they’ll make it. It would make for a nice comeback season.

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