Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, Kelly Sutherland

Offseason Report: Tampa Bay Lightning

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From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.

2011-12 season

38-36-8, 84 points. 10th in Eastern Conference, third in Southeast Division.

Additions

Matt Carle, Anders Lindback (trade), Sami Salo, Matt Taormina, Benoit Pouliot, B.J. Crombeen (trade), Kyle Wilson (trade), Dmitry Korobov

Departures

Dwayne Roloson, Brett Clark, Bruno Gervais, Tim Wallace, Mike Commodore, Sebastien Caron (trade)

2012 Draft

10th overall – Slater Koekkoek (D – Peterborough – OHL)

19th overall – Andrei Vasilevskiy (G – Ufa 2 – Russia)

Looking back

The 2011-2012 season was an admitted let down for the Lightning after coming within one win of the Stanley Cup finals the year before.  While Steve Stamkos was his usual dominant self scoring 60 goals and finishing with 97 points, the area where Tampa got killed was in goal.

Dwayne Roloson and Mathieu Garon had fits where they couldn’t stop a beach ball and the team finished dead last in goals against (281). Even in a Southeast Division that was rather craptacular, that’s not going to get you anywhere. That made it tough to watch as goaltending is what helped the Lightning get as far as they did the year before.

Looking forward

Things are shaping up to be interesting this season, however. Adding Anders Lindback as their new No. 1 goalie puts the focus on goaltending right away. Lindback played for two seasons in Nashville while not getting much work behind Pekka Rinne. Can he prove to be a legitimate No. 1 guy?

Bringing back Matt Carle to help shore up the defense was a sneaky strike from GM Steve Yzerman as the defensive unit needed help. Sami Salo should help the power play out quite a bit as well.

Taking a flier on Benoit Pouliot to add to their top six will give them more speed and occasional goals while adding B.J. Crombeen to solidify the bottom six forwards will give them a bit more grit. With the improvements Washington and Carolina made this offseason, the Lightning hope to hang in that race for the top.

Have your say

Vote in our poll and let us know what you think of the Lightning’s 2012-13 outlook in the comments section.

Video: Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have spoken out against a late, high hit that Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik threw on Olli Maatta early in the first period of an eventful Game 2 on Saturday.

Maatta left and didn’t return. He played only 31 seconds, and the Penguins were reduced to five defensemen for a large portion of the game. Orpik was given a minor penalty on the play, but the league’s Department of Player Safety may see it differently.

The hit occurred well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck. He struggled on his way to the dressing room for further evaluation.

Based on multiple reports, Orpik wasn’t made available to the media following the game, which went to the Penguins as they earned the split on the road.

But the Penguins have taken issue with the hit.

“I thought it was a late hit,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, as per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I thought it was a target to his head. I think it’s the type of hit everyone in hockey is trying to remove from the game.”

Game on: Penguins even series with rival Capitals

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The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.

Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.

Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.

It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.

It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.

For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.

Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.

Video: Penguins’ Letang was furious after Capitals tie up Game 2 with power play goal

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Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.

Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.

The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.

Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:

Video: Hagelin goes top shelf to give Penguins the lead in Game 2

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In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.

Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.

Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.