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Lightning host Blue Jackets, Stamkos eyes 250th goal

by Corey Long

BLUE JACKETS (8-15-2) at LIGHTNING (18-6-3)


TAMPATampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos is one goal short of reaching 250 for his NHL career. If coach Jon Cooper gets his wish the Lightning captain will shoot more against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Amalie Arena on Saturday.

Stamkos leads the team in goals (16) and points (32), but Cooper would like to see him and Valtteri Filppula shoot the puck on goal more.

“Well Stamkos has the best shot on the team,” Cooper said. “And Valtteri has been outstanding for us in a lot of areas. He’s been our best faceoff guy. And he knows when it’s time to put a puck in the net but instinctively he’s got a pass first mentality. That’s not a bad thing because you need set up guys up but sometimes you wish guys would get a little more selfish.”

Stamkos had four shots, a goal and two assists in a 5-0 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.

“When you see him with five, six, seven shots he’s going to get rewarded,” Cooper said. “Stamkos has that mentality where he wants to get the other guys going. He tries to set more guys up and maybe it’s rounded out his game a little bit but I don’t want to ever confuse Steven Stamkos with Adam Oates. He’s a shooter and I want him to continue to shoot the puck.”

Stamkos and his teammates may have an opportunity to get more shots Saturday against the Blue Jackets.

Columbus (8-15-2) gave up a franchise-record 55 shots in a 4-3 shootout win against the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 52 saves, also a franchise record, and is expected to be in goal for the Blue Jackets.

Bobrovsky was not one of the 18 Blue Jackets players to participate in the team’s optional skate Saturday.


Kerby Rychel - Ryan Johansen - Jack Skille

Matt Calvert - Boone Jenner - Cam Atkinson

Brian Gibbons - Nick Foligno - Scott Hartnell

Corey Tropp - Michael Chaput - Jared Boll

Jack Johnson - David Savard

Jordan Leopold - Dalton Prout

Tim Erixon - James Wisniewski

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Kevin Connauton, Adam Cracknell

Injured: Nathan Horton (back), Ryan Murray (knee), Cody Goloubef (knee), Fedor Tyutin (knee), Brandon Dubinsky (abdominal surgery), Mark Letestu (groin), Artem Anisimov (torn triceps)


Alex Killorn - Steven Stamkos - Ryan Callahan

Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov

Cedric Paquette - Valtteri Filppula - Brett Connolly

Brenden Morrow - Brian Boyle - Jonathan Drouin

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison - Andrej Sustr

Matt Carle - Radko Gudas

Ben Bishop

Evgeni Nabokov

Scratched: Mark Barberio, J.T. Brown

Injured: None

Status report: Both teams had optional skates Saturday with only a half dozen Lightning players participating. ...Dubinsky is practicing with the team but will not play Saturday.

Who's hot: Johnson has two goals and five assists on a five-game point streak for Tampa Bay. ...Bishop recorded his first shutout of the season on Thursday and has won his last five starts. ...Rychel has three assists in his past two games.

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