Practice Notebook: The Balancing Act
The Lightning have often asked Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis to answer their questions on the offense side of things, but as of late other members on the roster have included themselves in the conversation.
Killorn has recorded two goals in crucial situations for Tampa Bay. One, a game-winner in overtime against the Buffalo Sabres, the other, a game-tying goal with three minutes remaining in Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Though he made his rookie debut last year, the sophomore feels more at ease in securing a role for himself in 2013-14.
“Whenever you get called up you just want to blend in and not make too many mistakes,” Killorn said. “When you’re a little bit more comfortable, you try to make more plays and help the team win.”
Purcell too has been red hot with eight points (four goals, four assists) in six games and is currently riding a five-game point streak. He is also the lone veteran on a rookie line comprised of Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and himself.
“They’ve worked really hard and they obviously paid their dues in the AHL,” Purcell said. “We’re working hard and doing the right things and we’re getting rewarded with goals.”
These are just two of the examples of the balance the Bolts are trying to create on all four of their lines. Head Coach Jon Cooper is not looking solely for scoring though, as everyone’s starting to learn, the Lightning are transforming into a defense-first team.
“We’re getting contributions from all four lines,” Cooper said. “I know Thompson’s line probably wishes they could put a few more pucks in the net, but they don’t know how valuable they’ve been on the penalty kill, defense and wearing other teams down.”
The fourth line’s grit along with three lines that all manage to produce points will hopefully make the Lightning a hard opponent for the rest of the league.
“To get that balanced scoring from three other lines, it takes a little pressure off our top line and it makes it a little tough to match up against us,” Cooper said.
ST. LOUIS SIDELINED
A day removed from notching not only his 900th career point as a member of the Lightning franchise, but his 901st and 902nd point, Martin St. Louis was noticeably absent from practice Wednesday.
St. Louis took a Drew Doughty slapshot off of his foot to start the third period, but did stay in the game and went on to score his second goal and third point of the night later in the period.
“He’s getting evaluated,” Cooper said. “From all indications it’s nothing alarmingly serious. We’ll have to wait until the doctor gives us a report."
His status is uncertain for Thursday’s game, as he is considered day-to-day with a lower body injury.
THE LAVENDER LOOK
Tampa Bay will host “Hockey Fights Cancer Night” Thursday when they take on the Minnesota Wild at 7:30 p.m. at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The initiative is league-wide and is entering its 15th season of recognizing those affected by cancer.
This week, players will not only wear Hockey Fights Cancer decals on the back of their helmets, they will also use lavender tape on game sticks during Thursday’s morning skate, warm-up and game. The color lavender is used to represent awareness for all forms of cancer.
You can also expect to see Lightning coaches and broadcasters wearing lavender ties during Thursday’s game.
Cooper’s tie, along with a number of other items, will be auctioned off via the Lightning’s social media channels.