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.
Mar 6, 2015, 5:00 PM EST
Meaning Anders Lindback looks to play against Ottawa tonight.
Mar 6, 2015, 4:00 PM EST
“There’s no such thing as a ‘must-win.’ Nobody gets locked up or thrown in the ocean or anything like that.”
Mar 6, 2015, 3:13 PM EST
Gritty forward will miss most of the remainder of the regular season.
Mar 6, 2015, 2:19 PM EST
“There’s no question Chiarelli would have a chance to work as soon as he wanted to.”
Mar 6, 2015, 2:03 PM EST
News and notes from around the crease…
Mar 6, 2015, 1:43 PM EST
Not the best timing for Winnipeg.
Mar 6, 2015, 1:13 PM EST
Making it virtually impossible for him to play again this season.
Mar 6, 2015, 1:10 PM EST
However, “We’re not hearing that from fans. Fans like the way the game is.”
Mar 6, 2015, 12:41 PM EST
The Scotiabank Saddledome opened in 1983.
Mar 6, 2015, 12:38 PM EST
It’s likely he’ll take the morning skate on Saturday.
Mar 6, 2015, 12:08 PM EST
“It was a mutual agreement between both parties.”
Mar 6, 2015, 11:50 AM EST
Hence, all the trades.
Mar 6, 2015, 11:43 AM EST
Huge blow to Colorado’s already slim playoff chances.
Mar 6, 2015, 11:01 AM EST
A bad week for the Jets and Canucks.
Mar 6, 2015, 10:53 AM EST
Which is good, considering he’s in the final year of his entry-level deal.
Mar 6, 2015, 9:50 AM EST
Both players were scheduled to become restricted free agents after this season.
Mar 6, 2015, 9:45 AM EST
He was handed the key to the city on Thursday in Ottawa.
Mar 6, 2015, 8:50 AM EST
He’s been out of the lineup since Feb. 13.
Mar 6, 2015, 8:00 AM EST
Friday’s collection of links.
Mar 6, 2015, 1:36 AM EST
Minnesota, Calgary and L.A. all win on Thursday.
- Byfuglien out 2-4 weeks with upper-body injury; Little hurt, too 8
- Bettman concedes there are ‘some members of the NHL family who would like to see fewer shootouts’ 35
- Season over: Avs lose MacKinnon to broken foot 18
- Playoff watch — what the bubble teams need to do 18
- Bruins sign Krug and Smith to contract extensions 35
- Lawyer: Ribeiro to ‘vigorously fight’ $1M lawsuit alleging abuse of ex-nanny (Updated) 15
- In praise of the Hamburglar 14
- Leafs’ Panik latest to be fined for diving 9
- Connor McDavid is just on fire right now 21
- Video: Zidlicky’s first goal with Detroit gives Red Wings OT win over Rangers 32