The three Bolts players (Ben Bishop, Nate Thompson and Matt Carle) representing the United States as this year’s IIHF World Championships account for the most the Tampa Bay Lightning organization has ever had suit up for the American side in a single year at the tournament.
Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos are the 27th pair of teammates all-time to finish first and second, respectively, in the NHL points race, and the first since Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr in 1995-96.
Monday morning, Lightning players, coaches, and management expressed their views of last season, the upcoming draft, and the 2013-14 season. Listen to what head coach Jon Cooper, general manager Steve Yzerman, Vinny Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis, and Steven Stamkos had to say.
The Lightning bring the 2012-13 season to a close tonight against the only team in the current Southeast Division that will still be a division opponent next season, the Florida Panthers. With both teams out of the playoff hunt there seemingly isn’t much to play for, but from a Bolts perspective, that just simply isn’t true as Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos are both chasing arguably the two most prestigious trophies in the NHL.
St. Louis currently leads the NHL points race with 58, two ahead of Stamkos and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby. It appears Crosby will not return before the end of the regular season, so it appears St. Louis’ main competition will come from his line-mate. Patrick Kane of Chicago, who also plays tonight, is the next closest with 55 points. Should St. Louis be able to hold on he would be the oldest player to ever win the Art Ross Trophy at the tender age of 37. Stamkos’ bid at his third “Rocket” Richard Trophy is a little bit more of a long shot. He trails Washington’s Alex Ovechkin by three goals with the Capitals playing tonight as well. He would need a great performance and some help from the Boston Bruins in shutting down Ovechkin, but it is certainly possible.
Anders Lindback will get the start between the pipes tonight. Head coach Jon Cooper said that due to his injury he hasn’t really seen a lot of Lindback and wants to give him a chance to make an impression. Ben Bishop will watch the game in a suit, while Mathieu Garon backs up. A lot has been made of Bishop wearing his Ottawa mask, well the good news is his Lightning mask has arrived. Bad news is he won’t be on the ice to show it off.
The Lightning will get together one more time on Monday for exit physicals and meetings before heading their separate ways for the summer.
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Going In for the Kill – The Lightning have not allowed a power play goal in three consecutive games. During that time they have thwarted all seven opponent opportunities.
Gruesome Twosome – It sounds crazy and unlikely, but what if St. Louis and Stamkos were to tie for the NHL points lead? The most likely way of that happening would be for Stamkos to have two points and for St. Louis to be held off the board. Since they’re on the same line and power play unit that seems unlikely, but if it did it would be the first time in NHL history teammates shared the scoring title.