Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Jon Jordan on 11/24/10 at 11:09 AM ET
I only have a few minutes this morning, with a houseful already in town for Thanksgiving and the pressing need of locating some genie-style parachute pants in time for tonight’s game, what with M.C. Hammer in town for a postgame concert and all. (Rumor has it, if things go well for the Lightning, their very own “Hammer”, one Steven Stamkos, could join the genius behind “U Can’t Touch This”, “2 Legit 2 Quit” and “Here Comes the Hammer” on stage. Hope he’s been practicing that trademark Hammer shuffle…)
Anyway, I simply wanted to point out that, prior to their recent three-game road sweep of the Islanders, Philadelphia and Buffalo, I had noted that the Lightning were actually two points behind their record through 17 games last season and that they’d need to win two of three just to match that club’s pace at the indicative “quarter pole” of the twenty-game mark. Of course, they managed a perfect road trip and added a win over Boston on Monday night to run their win streak to four and to pull them within four points of division-leading Washington.
So forget that last year stuff, as all seems well, presently, in Lightningland…
Stamkos’ torrid pace gets all the headlines but the ageless Martin St. Louis is right behind him, third in the NHL right now with 27 points of his own. And, though there is quite the dropoff from St. Louis to third-leading scorer Teddy Purcell (13 points), this team has seemed to embrace the all-hands-on-deck approach with significant contribution from throughout the lineup. The likes of Nate Thompson, Dominic Moore and Sean Bergenheim all continue to exemplify the collective hardhat effort this team employs.
The defense and goaltending has been solid lately as well. Take out the madness of last Thursday’s 8-7 win in Philly and the Bolts have allowed just four goals in the other three victories during their current streak. Mike Smith, left for dead by a growing circle of Tampa Bay fans recently, was outstanding against Buffalo and Boston and is your probably starter tonight against the Rangers. Fellow netminder Dan Ellis has been sturdy all season with few exceptions and the idea all along was to get both of these guys going to create that ideal 1/1A situation. If Smith’s play recently is any indication of what might play out long-term, they’re well on their way to just that.
A win over the Rangers at home tonight would extend the current winning streak to an impressive five games and set the stage for an epic Southeast Division showdown in Washington on Friday.
And, apparently, it might also set the stage for a long-awaited Stammer/Hammer collaboration…
Now then… Off to find those genie pants.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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