Oct 28, 2013, 3:10 PM EST
Can a first-place team fly under the radar?
According to Steve Stamkos — who’s Tampa Bay Lightning sit atop the Atlantic Division — the answer is yes.
And what’s more, he prefers being overlooked.
“You look at our schedule and we’ve played some pretty tough teams.”
Stamkos, second in NHL scoring to Sidney Crosby, has a point. The Lightning’s resume boasts some signature wins, including a pair over defending Stanley Cup champs Chicago (one coming at the United Center, no less) and a 5-1 drubbing of the 2012 champs, Los Angeles.
What’s got the Bolts humming? After a frustrating ’13 campaign in which little went right, things have really fallen into place.
The biggest development — and perhaps most important — has come in goal, where Ben Bishop nixed any talk of a timeshare with Anders Lindback by taking the No. 1 gig and running with it. Bishop’s posted a sparking 7-1-0 record with a 2.47 GAA and .914 save percentage, and is just four wins shy of his total for all of last season.
The other big development? An influx of AHLers groomed under current head coach Jon Cooper.
Radko Gudas, Alex Killorn, Tyler Johnson, Richard Panik and Ondrej Palat — all members of the Norfolk team that won the Calder Cup with Cooper in 2012 — have enjoyed solid starts to the year. Gudas is a physical presence, leading the team in PIM (53) while notching four points in 11 games, averaging 19:09 TOI.
Killorn has seven points, Johnson six, Palat and Panik five — and all have played at least 10 games. Killorn has been especially impressive, averaging nearly 17 minutes a night.
Of course, we’d be remiss in discussing Tampa’s success without mentioning the captain, Martin St. Louis. The reigning Art Ross winner has been as good as ever, scoring 7G-7A in his first 11 games while averaging a whopping 21:05 a night. That average leads all Bolts forwards and puts the 38-year-old 13th among NHL forwards.
Nov 26, 2014, 10:03 AM EST
He missed the last three games with an upper-body injury.
Nov 26, 2014, 9:16 AM EST
It’s a question that could decide a playoff spot or two.
Nov 26, 2014, 8:51 AM EST
Tough start to the season for the veteran defenseman.
Nov 26, 2014, 8:12 AM EST
Wednesday’s roundup of links.
Nov 26, 2014, 2:00 AM EST
Colorado has now won four of five.
Nov 26, 2014, 12:45 AM EST
Jackets and Oilers talking trade.
Nov 26, 2014, 12:05 AM EST
The Avs’ defenseman left the game and did not return.
Nov 25, 2014, 11:25 PM EST
The Oilers’ forward has had his share of knee injuries.
Nov 25, 2014, 10:29 PM EST
Spent time in Vancouver as a player and a coach.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:54 PM EST
Will not return due to a lower body injury.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:18 PM EST
Extends point streak to five games.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:11 PM EST
Remains in the game.
Nov 25, 2014, 8:45 PM EST
After 18 seasons, he’s done.
Nov 25, 2014, 8:00 PM EST
The 19-year-old rookie will be sticking in the NHL this season.
Nov 25, 2014, 7:45 PM EST
Chris Thorburn dropped the gloves with the Jackets tough guy.
Nov 25, 2014, 7:15 PM EST
He’s been a healthy scratch in three straight games.
Nov 25, 2014, 5:48 PM EST
Sharks forward has undergone months of rehab on his surgically-repaired knee.
Nov 25, 2014, 5:04 PM EST
“Let’s get real. Finding top-four defensemen, they’re not available,” says GM Dean Lombardi.
Nov 25, 2014, 4:35 PM EST
And rightly so.
Nov 25, 2014, 4:27 PM EST
Alex Mallet for Andrey Pedan, specifically.
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- Video: Stars’ Klingberg scores from center ice 4
- Report: Alfredsson retirement to be announced Dec. 4 8
- On the odds of fighting back after Thanksgiving 7
- Why are the Oilers still bad? Look at their drafting 21
- The Leafs are worth almost seven times the Panthers, says Forbes 20
- Isles make some history; Are the Flyers headed for trouble? 43
- Crosby, Malkin power Penguins, help Fleury grab 300th win 7
- Sooner than later? Bruins GM hopes Chara can return in 10-14 days 1
- With worst save percentage in NHL, Oilers fire goalie coach 22
- Video: Milan Lucic calls Dalton Prout one-punch ‘gutless’ (99)
- Prout drops Lucic: ‘As far as I was concerned we were engaged in a fight’ (88)
- The Leafs didn’t salute their fans last night, so that’s a thing now (79)
- Jack Johnson filed for bankruptcy, parents allegedly took advantage of him (58)
- Bruins’ Lucic expected to play against Habs after getting one-punched (Updated) (47)