Captain Martin St. Louis has taken on full responsibility in stepping up his play with the loss of Steven Stamkos. It is something that he expects from the whole team as well.
“Hopefully guys understand we have some winning to do to get the result we want collectively,” St. Louis said.
Tuesday night provided their first chance to do that and though it took some extra effort with an overtime period and a shootout, the Lightning were able to get the job done.
“It was an opportunity for other guys to step up and it was a big test for us,” Victor Hedman said. “I thought we worked really hard, 40-plus shots in a building that is hard to play in. I think we showed a lot of character, we played every shift very well both offensively and defensively.”
Going 0-for-4 on the power-play is one area that the Bolts will likely look to improve moving forward. It was not something that was directly affected by Stamkos’ absence, it had been lacking as of late.
“We had a lot of opportunities on the power-play, but Price was really good in net as well,” Hedman said. “He’s the one that kept us scoreless on the power-play, but if we keep playing like this I think it’s something that will come.”
BROWN IN FOR BOLTS
On Tuesday, Syracuse Crunch general manager Julien BriseBois said they called up the players who gave them the best chance of winning that night. While Dmitry Korobov did not make it into the lineup, J.T. Brown did, playing alongside Valtteri Filppula and Teddy Purcell.
Steven Stamkos suffered a broken right tibia during Monday's game against the Bruins and will be out indefinitely after undergoing a successful surgery Tuesday in Boston.
“It was good to join the team today,” Brown said. “I’ve been in Syracuse, just waiting for the call and seeing I was going to play I was pretty excited. I’m just happy to be here.”
Though just getting an optional morning skate in the morning of his recall, Brown believed it was just the challenge that comes with joining the team late.
“I did alright, there were a few shifts where it got stuck in our zone, but overall I thought I did pretty good. It was just a little bit more of a learning curve, but we’ll see where this goes.”
Brown finished the game, logging 14:37 of ice time with two shots and one hit. He also played 3:09 on the man advantage.
It was his first game with Tampa Bay since the 2011-12 season.
Heading into Tuesday’s game the mood surrounding the Bolts had taken a change, the Lightning were predicted by many critics to make a dramatic dive in the standings. Yet the team was hungry to prove them wrong.
“Sixteen games ago I’m not sure anybody in this room was picking the Tampa Bay Lightning to be anything but something teams were going to pass on the way to the playoffs,” head coach Jon Cooper said. “For 16 games, I think we were just getting to the point where people were starting to look at us and say, ‘hey I think these guys might be for real.’ In the second period Monday all those people are back to saying, ‘okay these guys are done.’"
Tuesday night they did. Even putting 45 shots on net, something Cooper joked about post-game, saying with Stamkos in the lineup they were only averaging 25 shots.
“We understand this isn’t a one game absence for us, but they have dealt with this kind of stuff all year,” Cooper said. “I think this was a big step in overcoming what we know is going to be a challenge for us, but it was a big step in knowing we can overcome it.”
ODDS ‘N ENDS
Stamkos underwent successful surgery Tuesday afternoon to stabilize a fracture in his right tibia. He is expected to return to Tampa on Thursday and begin rehab immediately, but there’s no timetable for his return to the ice.
Tampa Bay is now a perfect 6-0 in overtime/shooutouts and avoided losing consecutive losses for the first time this season.
Filppula has netted two of the three shootout game-winning goals. He has also seen his shots on net gradually increase this road trip, taking 11 total shots on goal in three games. It had previously taken Filppula nine games to equal that same number of shots.