Hockey Canada gesture leaves Stamkos nearly speechless

Jared Clinton
Steven Stamkos (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

A broken tibia didn’t just derail Steven Stamkos’ 2013-14 season, it robbed him of the opportunity to represent his home country at the Olympics.

While there’s no telling the impact Stamkos may have been able to make during the Sochi games, his scoring ability surely would have been a welcome addition to Team Canada. Though he fought valiantly to rehab his injured right leg in time for the tournament, he was unable to reach full speed in time, and Team Canada named Martin St-Louis as his replacement. Read more

Watch Brian Boyle help push Lightning reporter through tough workout

Jared Clinton
BrianBoyleWorkout

Brian Boyle is, undoubtedly, one of the hardest working big-bodied forwards in the NHL. A defensive monster throughout his career, Boyle eats tough minutes and isn’t afraid to get in front of a booming shot.

Off the ice, however, Boyle works just as hard. To get an idea of how hard he’s pushing himself off the ice, the Tampa Bay Lightning had their reporter Michelle Gingras get into the gym with Boyle to see what exactly the power forward gets up to: Read more

Jonathan Drouin scores his first NHL goal on a slick snap shot

Josh Elliott
Jonathan Drouin (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

After spending last year in junior and missing the start of this season with a broken thumb, former Tampa Bay Lightning third overall pick Jonathan Drouin has his first NHL goal in just his third game.

With Nikita Kucherov holding the puck behind the Winnipeg Jets’ net, Drouin took a hit along the boards and peeled away from defender to go for the slot. Kucherov dished the puck out to Drouin for a one-timer and Drouin buried it over Ondrej Pavelec’s shoulder to give his Tampa Bay Lightning a 2-1 lead.
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Memorable night for young guns as three rookies register first point

Jonathan Drouin (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

In 50 years, there will be three separate sets of grandkids hearing tell of Tuesday night’s NHL action. The reason being for rookies Jonathan Drouin, Adam Lowry, and Seth Griffith, it was the night they registered their first NHL point.

The Bruins’ Griffith and Jets’ Lowry both registered their first of what will hopefully be many NHL goals, while the shifty Drouin notched an assist on the game-tying goal in Tampa Bay’s overtime victory over the Calgary Flames.

Drouin, who has been lauded for his playmaking ability, showed it off in fantastic fashion. The 19-year-old Quebec native won a puck battle below the Flames goal line, worked the puck up the boards, and made a seeing-eye backhand saucer pass that landed right on the tape of defenseman Jason Garrison:

Valtteri Filppula pushed the blast by Garrison home. In overtime, Drouin would get an excellent opportunity on a 2-on-1 with Steven Stamkos – with whom Drouin lined up with throughout the game – but was stopped on an incredible save by Karri Ramo.

For Griffith, he’ll be able to tell his children and grand children about an absolute laser of a shot:

A product of Wallaceburg, Ont., Griffith was a rookie sensation at the American League level last season, putting home 20 goals and 50 points. The goal couldn’t have come at a bigger time, either.

With the Bruins down 3-2 to the San Jose Sharks, Griffith’s big-league snap shot found the back of the net and brought the Bruins even. The Bruins would go on to win the game 5-3, thanks in large part to Griffith’s timely tally.

Finally, Adam Lowry, the son of former NHLer Dave Lowry, did what his father managed to 164 times at the big league level:

With the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps last season, Lowry stood out for his gritty play and nose for the net and was a large part of what made Winnipeg’s farm club so successful. As an AHL rookie, Lowry amassed 17 goals and 16 assists, good for 12th on the team in scoring.

His big body and powerful forechecking ability are what got him into the lineup with the Jets, but they certainly won’t shake a stick at him contributing in other ways on the score sheet. Lowry’s marker would stand as the game-winning goal.

Jonathan Drouin’s debut spells the beginning of a Calder campaign

Jared Clinton
Halifax Mooseheads v Drummondville Voltigeurs

When Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning strolled into Edmonton’s Rexall Place to take on the Oilers last night, they had a fresh face in the lineup: 2013 third-overall pick Jonathan Drouin.

Drouin, who coach Jon Cooper had earlier said would not be making his debut until later in the Lightning’s Western road trip, likely would have made the Lightning right out of training camp had his preseason derailed by a slight fracture of the thumb on his right hand which sidelined the much-talked about rookie for nearly four weeks. Late last week, the Lightning and Drouin made a bit of news with his activation and subsequent transfer to the American League’s Syracuse Crunch for a conditioning stint.

It didn’t take long for Drouin to make his mark on the professional ranks, scoring on an absolute laser of a wrist shot in the third period of his AHL debut.

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Injury to blossoming star Victor Hedman won’t derail Lightning’s momentum

Adam Proteau
Victor Hedman (Getty Images)

For most NHL teams, losing a burgeoning star on defense like Victor Hedman to injury would be a major, if not catastrophic blow. But if a team (at least, an Eastern Conference team) is equipped to weather the absence of a key cog on the blueline, it’s the Tampa Bay Lightning. Despite the fact they’ll now be without Hedman for at least a handful of games, if not longer thanks to a suspected broken hand he suffered Saturday against Vancouver, the Bolts are still looking as dangerous as many expected they would after their off-season additions.

When Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman signed free agent blueliner Anton Stralman away from the New York Rangers and traded for former Vancouver Canucks d-man Jason Garrison, he turned a group that included Hedman (who demolished career bests in goals and assists last year), veterans Matt Carle and Eric Brewer, and rugged 24-year-old Radko Gudas into arguably the Eastern Conference’s deepest defense corps. And that argument got much stronger after the Bruins dealt Johnny Boychuk to the Islanders. They’re so deep on defense, they made Brewer a healthy scratch for the first two games of the season. (Gudas is a little banged-up himself, but hoped to return to the lineup as soon as Monday.) There’s more than enough talent and balance there to hold the fort until Hedman returns. (And nobody quite knows when that will be just yet. If their worst fears come true and Hedman’s hand is broken, he’s likely looking at a 4-to-6-week recovery period.)

But even if that defense corps weren’t so sturdy even in Hedman’s absence, the Lightning would still be favored to win more games than not because of two main reasons: Read more

The chase is on for Stamkos in search of next 60-goal season

Jared Clinton
Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

If you can think back to 2011-12, you may remember the excitement surrounding Steven Stamkos’ chase for the 60-goal plateau. As he inched closer and closer, the feeling turned from not if, but when. Who would be the opponent? In what style would he score his 60th?

In Tampa Bay’s last game of the regular season, it finally happened. The answers to Lightning trivia for years to come took the form of a wrist shot blown past Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec. The ovation from the sell-out crowd at Winnipeg’s MTS Centre was sincere and a testament to what the young superstar had accomplished.

Stamkos’ next real shot at 60 came not in 2012-13 – the lockout-shortened season robbed him of going back-to-back – but in 2013-14. Paired up with his partner-in-crime, Martin St-Louis, Stamkos fired out of the gates, racking up 14 goals in 17 games. What happened next was the derailment of what could have been the first 70-goal NHL season since Teemu Selanne potted 76 in 1992-93. Read more

Here’s a hat trick from Steven Stamkos

Adam Proteau
Steven Stamkos (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Newsflash: Steven Stamkos has the ability to take a puck and put it past the goal line virtually at will. And the Lightning superstar showed why he’s one of the favorites to win the Hart, Art Ross and Rocket Richard trophies this season when he went off on the Montreal Canadiens Monday in Tampa Bay, scoring three goals in the first two periods and leading the Bolts to a 7-1 romp over the Habs.

Stamkos got on the scoresheet for the first time (and the first time this season) at 9:51 of the opening frame when he grabbed a rebound and flipped it past Canadiens star goalie Carey Price:

Goal No. 2 for Stamkos came at 13:15 of the second period, when teammate Victor Hedman connected with him on a brilliant stretch pass the length of the ice for a short breakaway on Price: Read more