Lightning Archives - Page 3 of 24 - SaintPetersBlog

Lightning picks Brett Howden in draft, but talk is about Steven Stamkos

The Tampa Bay Lightning added forward Brett Howden to their depth Friday night.

Why, then, was all of the discussion about forward Steven Stamkos?

After the Detroit Red Wings traded away center Pavel Datsyuk and his $7.5-million contract to Arizona Friday night, speculation began that the Wings could be trying to make room for Stamkos, who became able to talk to teams at midnight.

If Stamkos goes, it will be difficult for the Bolts to replace him.

Howden, who is 18, is years away from showing he is that kind of player. He does carry the reputation as intelligent and a two-way player. The Lightning have two second-round draft picks today.

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Calgary trades for a goaltender, but it isn’t Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop

At that price, the Tampa Bay Lightning did just fine in holding onto goaltender Ben Bishop Friday night.

The Calgary Flames, supposedly deep enough in trade talks with the Lightning to be discussing contract renegotiation, instead traded for St. Louis goaltender Brian Elliott. They gave their second-round pick, 35th overall, for Elliott and a conditional third in 2018.

Can you imagine if the Lightning had taken the 35th pick for Bishop. Tampa Bay fans would storm Amalie Arena.

The Flames didn’t want to give up their No. 1 pick, spent on Matthew Tkachuk.

Bishop had the better season this year, slightly. He won 35 games (Elliott won 23). He had a .926 save percentage (Elliott was at .930). He had a 2.06 goals against average to Elliott’s 2.06. In other words, Bishop had the edge, but probably not a round’s worth.

Announcers at NBCSN said they still expected Bishop to be traded.

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Lightning hopes to find future stars in tonight’s NHL draft

Once, the Tampa Bay Lightning depended on losing to make their drafts better.

These days, they depend on organization.

The Lightning, in the NHL’s final four each of the last two seasons, have become a strong team organizationally the last few seasons under Steve Yzerman. They have finds such as Tyler Johnson, who was undrafted, and Ondrej Palat, who went in the seventh round.

In tonight’s draft, the Bolts pick 27th, 44th and 58th. That means the Lightning won’t get one of the draft’s biggest names, but they should be able to develop players who will help.

Of course, the draft isn’t the most notable thing the Bolts will do this summer. They will also try to retain Steven Stamkos and Ben Bishop.

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Lightning’s Ben Bishop finishes second in Vezina Trophy voting to Braden Holtby

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop finished second in the voting as the NHL’s best goaltender.

In the end, however, Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals simply won too many games.

Holtby won 48 games this season and helped his team to the President’s Cup on his way to winning the Vezina Trophy Wednesday night. Bishop won 35, losing 11 when the Lightning scored two goals or fewer. He led the league in save percentage and in goals against. Bishop led the league in save percentage (. 926) and goals against (2.06).

Holtby received 140 points, including 26 first place votes. Bishop had 51, with two first-place votes. Jonathan Quick of the Kings had 36 points and one first-place vote.

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Lightning’s Ben Bishop a finalist for tonight’s voting of Vezina Trophy

For the second straight season, Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning is among the finalists for the year’s best goaltender.

Once again, he is not expected to win.

Bishop, 29, is among the finalists for the Vezina Trophy for the second straight season. However, Washington’s Brian Holtby is the favorite to win. Jonathan Quick of Los Angeles is the third contender.

Bishop led the NHL in goals against average (2.06) and save percentage (. 926). Bishop lost 11 games when allowing two goals or fewer, however. Holtby won the most games (48).

“I would be pleasantly surprised if I won,” Bishop told the Tampa Bay Times. You hear that Holtby has kind of got it wrapped up. I’m not going to expect to win, even though I think I could. He numbers talk for themselves. We’ll see.”

There has been speculation that the Bolts might consider trading Bishop because of his age and salary ($5.95 million per season).

“I expect to be back,” Bishop said. “It’s never really crossed my mind going somewhere else. As far as I’m concerned, I have another year here, and I fully expect to be back. If I’m not, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

In his last two seasons, Bishop has won 75 games in the regular season and 21 more in the playoffs.

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Lightning announces its 2016-17 schedule, starting with Detroit

The Tampa Bay Lightning has beaten the Detroit Red Wings in the last two playoffs.

This year, the Red Wings will try to get even in the Bolts’ season opener.

Tampa Bay is at home on Oct. 13 to take on the Wings. The Lightning follows with games against New Jersey (Oct. 15), Florida (Oct. 18) and Colorado (Oct. 20).

A six-game road trip follows. In all, Tampa Bay will play 14 of its first 24 games on the road.

The Lightning will play Pittsburgh, the team that ousted it from the playoffs, at home on Dec. 10.

The Lightning concludes its schedule on April 9 against Buffalo.

There is still no word on where star center Steven Stamkos might sign, but if it is in his hometown of Toronto, the teams will play at Amalie on Dec. 29.

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The Lightning says it’s time to get answers from forward Steven Stamkos

It has been the world’s longest negotiation, but things may be coming to a head between the Tampa Bay Lightning and center Steven Stamkos.

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Times he hopes to have some clarity on Stamkos by the weekend.

“We’re doing all we can to sign him,” Yzerman said. “What we look like if Stammer re-signs with us, it affects what we can do with our team. For us, we’d like to know sooner than later.

“At some point on other players, I have to make decisions. I’ve got to make decisions and they can’t be put off forever.”

Stamkos is free to start shopping around to other teams on Saturday. He can sign with them on July 1.

“To be honest with you, it’s out of my control,” Yzerman said. “He’s an unrestricted free agent on July 1. I can’t force him to sign a contract with us if he doesn’t want to. If he wants to go to July 1, he has that right.”

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Did Steven Stamkos return to Lightning provide a hint for the future?

He tried to ride to the rescue. He did not save the day, but you have to give Steven Stamkos credit for trying.

He was rusty, and he was out of tune. Sitting out for 22 games, since March 31, will do that to a player. It was asking an awful lot of Stamkos to be a difference maker for the Tampa Bay Lightning in less than 12 mintues of play in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup.

What it was was enough to beg this question: Might Stamkos resign with the Lightning after all?

For months, there has been a grudging acceptance that Stamkos was gone. The last reports of his offer from the Lightning seemed low. If Stamkos didn’t sign for all of those months, then why should he now?

But here are a couple of questions:

If Stamkos didn’t want to be here, why would come back at the next available shift?

And if the Lightning didn’t need Stamkos to go all the way, why would they allow it?

“He is a big boost for us,” coach Jon Cooper said. “And he makes us a better hockey team.”

Scan the internet, and there are rumors about Stamkos with this team and that one. The Maple Leafs. The Rangers. The Islanders. Vancouver.

But if Thursday night’s game proves anything, it’s that the Lightning and Stamkos still depend on each other.

Might that stay the case?

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Lightning loses to Penguins for Eastern Conference Title

Turn out the lights. Lock the rink. Gather the sticks.

It is over.

The Tampa Bay Lightning has lost.

The Lightning closed out their 2015-16 season Thursday night, losing a 2-1 game to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Bolts led the series three games to two and were at home, but they lost back-to-back games to Pittsburgh to end their season.

“Everybody who plays in this league and coaches in this league knows how hard it is to just get to the final or get this far in the playoffs,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “We didn’t reach a goal to win a Stanley Cup, but I’m pretty sure not a lot of people were picking us to get this far, especially with the catastrophic injuries we had to extremely important players on our team at the beginning of the playoffs.

And we just started plugging other guys in, and players were just rising to the occasion. You know, it’s tough to go injury free. Usually the teams that keep going have — you know, they stay injury free for the most part, and we didn’t. We got hurt before the playoffs, during the playoffs, and then maybe it caught up to us.

But as I said, even with a full lineup, that’s a heck of a team over there. We pushed them to Game 7. We just couldn’t get over the hump.”

The Lightning tried a bit of desperation in the defeat. Steven Stamkos, who hadn’t played for 22 games, returned from the surgery on the blood clot in his shoulder. However, he was able to play only 11 minutes. He had two shots but no points.

“He’s an extremely important player on our team,” Cooper said. “We weren’t quite sure when this was going to happen, but a decision was made that he could play for Game 7. It was an emotional boost for all of us. The guys were really excited to have him back, and I thought he did a great job.”

Once again, the Lightning was outplayed by the Penguins. Pittsburgh got off 39 more shots — they had 269 in the series, just short of 40 per game. The Lightning, on the other hand, had fewer than 10 shots in five of its final six periods.

“They’re fast, and so if we’re playing the game a little too slow and not executing, it’s hard when they’re playing “D” fast and they’re right on you,” Cooper said. “And I thought, you know, we got caught — when we were in those situations where we probably should have shot, we passed, and we passed when we probably should have shot. We kind of got caught in-between on a lot of occasions.

They play ‘D’ well. They play hard — and the other thing is they block a lot of shots, and that was evident this whole series, and the amount of shot blocks were just incredible, just couldn’t get them through. When you’re one and done all the time because the shot is blocked and bouncing out of the zone or they’re getting a rebound, it’s tough to generate offense.”

Bryan Rust scored the first Pittsburgh game, but Jonathan Drouin scored for the Lightning to tie the game at 1-1. Thirty seconds after, however, Rust scored again to provide the Penguins with their final margin.

Vasilevskiy stopped 37 shots in defeat.

“He was the rock back there, especially talk about the chances and shots they had,” Cooper said. “He was incredible for us. Obviously, he’s got a bright, bright future.”

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Key players must improve if the Lightning is to upset Penguins

If the series is tied, then why in the world do the Tampa Bay Lightning seem so far behind?

Technically, the Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins are knotted at three games, with one walk across the tightrope left to determine who goes to the Stanley Cup Final. But considering the team’s lethargic performance in a 5-2 loss in Pittsburgh, it feels worse.

During the series, the Penguins at their best have been better than the Lightning at their best. Pittsburgh is averaging more than 38 shots a game and almost four goals per game.

So who needs to play better?

A short list:

1. Andrei Vasilevskiy: Yes, the Lightning have constantly praised Vasilevskiy. But most hockey teams do, especially when there is no alternative. Vasilevskiy hasn’t held the Penguins to less than three goals in any game. He needs to be better than good tonight. He needs to have his best game of the season.

2. Victor Hedman: After the second round, you could hear whispers that Hedman might be on his way to winning the Conn Smythe Award as the playoff MVP. But Hedman was a minus-four on Tuesday night for the first time all season. Hey, someone has to control Sidney Crosby, right?

3. Tyler Johnson: He’s a little guy, and he gets banged up a lot. Even now, his mouth is mass of scabs. But the Lightning could use Johnson’s energy. Johnson, too, was minus four on Tuesday.

4. Nikita Kucherov: This one isn’t fair. He scored twice in the Bolts’ 4-3 win in Game Four. But the Bolts need a dose of what Kucherov can bring now more than ever. When he scores, the Lightning is usually ok.

5. J.T. Brown: A wild-card here. Brown (and Cedric Paquette) can be exactly the sort of irritants that the Bolts need to offset Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

6. (tie) Everyone else: In a big game, no one is ever sure just where a big goal will come from. Ondrej Palat? Jonathan Drouin? Jason Garrison? Regardless, it would help if the Bolts could score first. It would help if they can avoid the penalty kill early so they can get their momentum going.

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