Ondrej Palat, Richard Panik, Tyler Johnson

Lightning coach Cooper likes how their ‘Kid Line’ is growing up


The Tampa Bay Lightning have been one of the league’s surprise teams. While they’re without Steven Stamkos for the time being, they’ve done well in part thanks to their “Kid Line” of former AHL teammates Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Richard Panik.

Coach Jon Cooper tells Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times he’s happy with how they’ve grown so far this season.

“You know what you’re getting from them every night,” Cooper said. ‘They’re a bit more sure of themselves and their abilities. Early on, it’s human nature, you’re nervous, you’re uptight, you don’t want to make mistakes. Now … they play the game to make plays.”

Cooper has given the line opportunities to show what they’ve got. On Friday night against Pittsburgh, they got to grow up a bit matching up against Sidney Crosby’s line.

This season, scoring-wise, they’ve combined for 30 points with Johnson leading the way with 13. For a line that was starting in the AHL last season, they’re adapting well in the big leagues.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

Jarret Stoll, Mats Zuccarello
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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.

This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: