Forward Tom Pyatt did not register any points in the Tampa Bay Lightning's lastest contest Monday, but he did play a part in helping the Bolts come back from a two-goal deficit and was honored by the attending media with the No. 3 Star honors.
Pyatt drew back-to-back penalties from the Ottawa Senators Milan Michalek and Marc Methot in the second period. One led to a Victor Hedman power-play goal and brought the Lightning within one on the score sheet.
It is situations like this that have led to Pyatt being in the Bolts lineup more often than not since February. He has been scratched just once over the Lightning's last 15 games.
"If you can draw penalties to get your team on the power play that's big for you," Pyatt said. "Especially with the way we've been playing on the power play, it's huge for us."
Thompson, who is often his linemate, says Pyatt does things that often go unnoticed by an average hockey fan. They don't, however, get overlooked by the Bolts and the rest of the coaching staff.
"He's a fast player, but he can play a gritty style of game," Thompson said. "He gets in on the forecheck and creates havoc. Whenever you have a guy like that, who has speed and has the ability to make plays on a grinding line, it's always good to have on our line."
Head coach Jon Cooper also likes his versatility. That includes filling-in at center and winning big draws. Case in point was when the Bolts were depleted in that area with Steven Stamkos and Valtteri Filppula injured earlier in the season. His ability to hop on the penalty kill has also boosted his stock.
"His ability to play all over the ice and contribute in a positive way has made him someone to rely on especially since Olympic break," Cooper said.
He missed 32 games earlier this year due to a broken collar bone suffered in his season debut. Upon his return, he fought to be a part of the lineup on a consistent basis. Since then, Pyatt has demonstrated what a positive attitude and strong work ethic can lead to.
It has also led to him finding his game and being an important factor of the Bolts' playoff push.
BACK IN THE DAY
Cooper coached New York Islanders forward, Anders Lee, during the 2009-10 season with the Green Bay Gamblers. That season the junior team captured the Clark Cup.
Cooper shared a story about Lee from the road:
"Lee is a multi-star athlete. He could have walked on the University of Minnesota if he wanted to. He never tossed the football much around our team though. The weather was getting nice so we stopped to get lunch off the bus. The guys were throwing the football around outside and we told Anders you have to throw one for us, we have to see it. A teammate went out far to catch it and Anders said to go even farther and he threw it and I was just amazed."
Instrumental in the Gamblers' success that year, Lee went on to play for Notre Dame for three seasons, before going on to join the Islanders at the end of 2012-13.
LINES/DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS FROM PRACTICE
OTHER ODDS 'N ENDS
The Bolts will host "Go Green Night" during Thursday's game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. There will be a special bike giveaway on Ford Thunder Alley and all fans are encouraged to arrive to the game by biking, walking or carpooling. Select concession stands will also be offering healthy, sustainable and organic food options and Coca-Cola will have their recycling vehicle on-hand before the game.