Mar 6, 2012, 9:01 AM EDT
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.
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