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Cooper praises Tampa’s ‘junkyard dog power play’

Mar 27, 2014, 2:28 PM EDT

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Tampa Bay’s power play has been red hot lately, largely because head coach Jon Cooper has figured out the formula for success — keep it simple, stupid, and reference a legendary WWF wrestler.

From the Lightning website:

The return of Steven Stamkos and addition of Ryan Callahan has now made it more of a “junkyard dog power play,” according Cooper.

“You put a shooter [Stamkos] in there, then put a guy in there that is fearless in front of the net [Callahan] and it equates to power-play goals,” he said. “Honestly it’s that simple.”

Stamkos’ shot has led to four power-play goals over his past seven games.

“Everybody knows about his shot,” Valtteri Filppula said. “If he’s open, we’ll try to get the puck to him.”

The Bolts have scored power play goals in five straight games, going 8-for-24 overall with the man advantage during that stretch. It’s pushed the PP up to 16th overall (18.3 percent) in the NHL — no small feat, considering the unit was awful in November (4-for-44) and December (5-for-41).

Stamkos has been great, as expected, but others have performed as well. Callahan’s net-front contributions are well documented; Ondrej Palat has five power play assists in his last five games, while Victor Hedman has a goal an assist with the man advantage in the last two contests.

Stamkos was especially complimentary of what the first two bring to the table.

“This year we have Callahan and Palat that are willing to get in there and get the puck back for us,” the Bolts captain explained. “That’s when you really wear teams down, when you get that second, third, fourth opportunity on the power play.

“I think that’s been our Achilles heel in the past.”

  1. DED - Mar 27, 2014 at 2:36 PM

    Sounds like the Callanan-St. Louis trade is working for Tampa in the short run, when it was supposed to be the Rangers who benefited in the short run.

    • DED - Mar 27, 2014 at 2:37 PM

      Maybe I should clarify: Callahan is helping the Lightning win while the Rangers are winning despite St. Louis’ lack of performance.

      • pfhockey - Mar 27, 2014 at 5:41 PM

        Not to mention long run too. If MSL retires next season (based on his priorities to his family, another huge factor contributing to going solely to the NYR) And Cally re-signs for a fair contract, it’ll really hurt Sather. And a landslide win in TB’s favor.

  2. c9castine - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    to anybody who is listening tampa bays the dark horse of the east. probably get the 3 seed and work phillys defense and lack of discipline in the 1st round.

    tampa bays young forwards are a handful, as are philly’s, but tampa’s defense is a little more astute and they have a vezina candidate in net. not that mason is a slouch.

    palat will be the rookie that makes a name for himself in the playoffs.

    • clawedjeroo28 - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:53 PM

      No way Tampa plays Philly in the first round. All the first round games are played within the division, except for the wild card matchups. Tampa will probably get Montreal in the first round.

      • c9castine - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:54 PM

        oh my bad…did not realize that playoff format change.

        let me just, move this rock aside now…

      • DED - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:01 PM

        clawedjeroo is right. Had to look it up myself this morning because I kept hearing that last night’s Rangers-Flyers game was a 1st round preview. Here’s the link:

        It shows the seating for both conferences were the season to end today.

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