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Teammates know Stamkos is more than 'good player'

by Dan Rosen
PHILADELPHIA -- Martin St. Louis didn't really know what else to say. At this point, when it comes to Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay's veteran forward is at a loss for words.

"Yeah, I know, he's a good player," St. Louis said after the Lightning won a wild one at Wells Fargo Center, 8-7.

That's it? That's all we get? A good player?

Stamkos has 19 goals and 35 points in 19 games. He's on pace for 82 goals this season.

We already know he's a good player, Marty.

"What else am I supposed to say?" St. Louis later said.

Then he winked, and that pretty much said it all.

Stamkos did something even he hasn't done yet Thursday, however. He recorded his first 5-point game in the NHL thanks to his second hat trick of the season and assists on two of Tampa's other five goals.

Fans will be able to see Stamkos' performance again Saturday, Nov. 20, when NHL Network-U.S. re-broadcasts the game at 4 p.m. ET.

"It is amazing," St. Louis finally offered, "but we don't want Stammer to just think about that. Sometimes things are better left not talked about. You know, just go play. There is no reason to set any bars for him. Good things are going to happen. He's that good."

Sorry, Marty, but everyone in the hockey world is talking about Stamkos today because he is that good.

Stamkos, though, is doing his best to stay humble.

"Yeah, after 19 games I wouldn't expect myself to have 19 goals," he said. "It's just the way things are going right now. I'm working really hard and I'm trying to buy into the system. I'm getting a great opportunity, playing with some good players and our power play is clicking right now. I'm a beneficiary of that now and I just have to keep working hard to get rewarded."

With his lightning-quick release, impeccable accuracy and ability to find holes in the defense, Stamkos has become as much of a sure thing as there is in the NHL right now. His shooting percentage of 26.4 (19 goals on 72 shots) is third in the NHL, behind Milan Lucic and Joe Thornton.

Lucic and Thornton combined have 16 goals on 55 shots.

Ten players in the League have more shots on goal than Stamkos.

"Maybe Stammer is the best player in the League," Lightning forward Nate Thompson said. "He's automatic. When he gets the puck in scoring areas, nine times out of 10 it's going in."

Nineteen goals in 19 games. Will he go for 50 in 50? Is 82 for real?

"I'll try," Stamkos said, looking down at the carpet in the visitor's dressing room. "Things are going well right now. I just want to continue it."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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