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Michelle Timian The Hockey Writers

Published on Tuesday, January 13, 2015





Vintage Stamkos Rare Bright Spot in Lightnings’ Loss to Flyers

Following a sloppy 3-7 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on January 12, coach Jon Copper had much to say about why the Tampa Bay Lightning lost:

While it is true that the team failed to play to the standards that launched them to the top of the Atlantic Division, one name that stood out as a key performer in the loss was one hardly mentioned in this season’s key performers: Steven Stamkos.

Much has been said about the Lightnings’ depth of players and their ability to succeed without needing Stamkos. However, without the Bolts’ captain, the rare blowout loss for the Lightning would have been a lot worst.

In the first period, Steven Stamkos tied up the game, answering Flyers’ VandeVelde’s opening goal which had been scored four minutes prior. The snap shot came from Stamkos’ old stomping grounds at the faceoff dots (though he made a name for himself for his left dot slap shots). Stamkos kept his blade open for the pass from Tyler Johnson and his speed and awareness allowed him to fire the puck past the unsuspecting Flyers goalie Rob Zepp.

It says something about All-Star Johnson’s reputation that while the sophomore carried the puck, both Flyers defensemen focused on getting in the path of his shot, leaving Stamkos unchallenged in between the faceoff dots and allowing him to remain open for Johnson’s pass.

It was Stamkos’ 23rd goal of the year, which leads the Bolts, and his 41st point, only five points behind team leader Johnson. Stamkos also acted more like his old self in the way he fearlessly drove to the net throughout the game, running into Zepp at one point.

The Triplets Line of Palat-Johnson-Kucherov rightly received a lot of press this season for the way they carry the Lightning. They rank fifth, first and third, respectively, on the team in points. However, although he could not lead the Lightning to a victory after tumbling into a seven-goal hole on Monday, Stamkos’ play showed that he is still a commanding presence in the league.


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