Tag: Martin St. Louis

Johnson goal

Video: Johnson gets first postseason hat trick in Lightning history


Tyler Johnson is having an amazing playoff run and he’s been the story in Game 2 against the New York Rangers. Johnson opened the contest’s scoring with a shorthanded breakaway and followed it up with a power-play marker less than six minutes later.

Tampa Bay had a 2-1 lead going into the second period thanks to his efforts and he provided them with some extra insurance while completing the hat trick midway through the frame:

This is the first time a Lightning player has earned a hat trick in a playoff game. Johnson now has 11 markers in 15 contests, which is four more than the next best player on the playoffs goal scoring leaderboard.

He’s also scored in all situations tonight as his latest was tallied while the teams were at even strength.

His playoff run is remarkable under any circumstances, but it’s particularly special when you remember that Johnson was never drafted. Like former Lightning captain and current Rangers player Martin St. Louis, Johnson is a small forward that’s had to prove himself every step of the way.

Video: Johnson scores on shorthanded breakaway, Rangers respond

Johnson goal

The New York Rangers had an ideal opportunity to take an early lead against Tampa Bay as Lightning forward Brian Boyle got two minutes for holding and then teammate Jason Garrison was sent to the box for a delay of game less than a minute later.

Not only did the Rangers fail to capitalize on that extended 5-on-3, but Tyler Johnson ended up scoring a shorthanded breakaway goal after Rangers forward Martin St. Louis gave up the puck.

The goal was initially waived off because the net was knocked off its moorings, but a review determined that it was a good goal. You can see that below:

The Rangers were able to get some measure of redemption though as Tampa Bay’s Brenden Morrow was called off for high sticking at 8:15 of the first frame and Chris Kreider was able to convert on the power play:

Can the Rangers win the Cup like this?


A great defense creates offense, right? Not always, not if you’re the Rangers right now at least. They’re winning games thanks to their solid defense and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s superb play, but at the same time, they’re averaging just two goals per game in the playoffs.

Which is fine because defense is what wins championships, doesn’t it? It’s an important part, certainly, but they’re pushing that philosophy to its limit and it will be interesting to see if it snaps likes an overstretched elastic band.

If the Rangers win the Stanley Cup while maintaining their current scoring pace, they’ll be setting themselves apart from the previous 16 Stanley Cup winners dating back to 1998. Over that stretch, the worst offensive team was the 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning and even they averaged 2.56 goals per game during their postseason run. They had Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis averaging over a point per game, while the modern Rangers are led by Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan, who each have nine points in 13 contests.

The 2003 New Jersey Devils were a close second last among the list of Stanley Cup winners with their 2.58 goals per game pace in the playoffs. That Devils team lacked the offensive star power of the 2004 Lightning, but it had more offensive depth than Tampa Bay. New Jersey featured 17 different players that scored at least a goal and 11 that recorded two or more markers. The modern Rangers haven’t played in nearly as many contests yet, so it’s not a fair comparison, but so far 10 players have found the back of the net while eight have recorded at least two goals. Only two players have reached the five-goal mark (Chris Kreider and Brassard) while the Devils finished with six players that reached or surpassed that milestone.

Breaking new ground isn’t necessarily a recipe for disaster though and in line with that, the Rangers deserve credit for what they’ve already accomplished. They’ve been in 13 straight one-goal games in the 2015 playoffs and the fact they’ve gotten this far by coming through in clutch situations is amazing. Still, one has to wonder if any team can keep this up.


Five team stats you may find interesting

WATCH LIVE: Lightning at Rangers, Game 1 of Eastern Conference Final

Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers
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This is the first time the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers will face off in a playoff series, but it doesn’t really feel like it.

The reasoning is simple: there are so many players facing their former teammates in this conference final squabble.

Martin St. Louis (pictured) versus his former team is the obvious headliner, although Ryan Callahan may steal his thunder if he managed to play this afternoon. Beyond that, Anton Stralman and Brian Boyle were useful members of last year’s Stanley Cup Finalist Rangers squad while Dan Boyle won a championship with the Bolts many moons ago.

“It’s a little bit of made-for-TV,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper told the Bergen Record. “How often do two captains get traded for each other? Guys that have been big parts of a team and move on to free agency. In part, not because they didn’t want to be there but, in the salary cap era, this is what happens.”

Speaking of made-for-TV, you can watch Game 1 of the 2015 Eastern Conference Final on NBC and also stream it via NBC Sports Live Extra.


St. Louis regains top-line spot with Rangers (Update: Nope)

New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Four

As interesting a story as Martin St. Louis facing his former team the Tampa Bay Lightning in the playoffs for the first time may be, it won’t be as intriguing if the veteran winger is buried on the third or fourth line.

The 39-year-old found himself off the New York Rangers’ first line for a small chunk of Game 7’s overtime win against the Washington Capitals, but the Bergen Record reports that he’s back with Derick Brassard and Rick Nash.

For now, at least.

St. Louis only has four points in 12 playoff contests so far, a significant slump for a player with 87 points in 100 career postseason games. Still, he believes he’s had some strong moments, especially in the first few games against the Capitals.

“I thought I played some good hockey early on in that series but didn’t get rewarded,” St. Louis said. “Of course, coaches make decisions at key times in the game for whatever reason and I’ve never liked being left on the bench at certain times. But that’s reality. If I liked it, I don’t think I would be here today.”

Between the third period and overtime of Game 7, St. Louis only received about four of his 15 minutes of ice time, as J.T. Miller took his first-line spot. It sounds like St. Louis will get a chance to regain his standing on the top line, yet it’s a situation to watch.

It could be that much more interesting if St. Louis does get demoted, as the New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard discusses:

The question if Vigneault reshuffles his lines is where else St. Louis would fit. Dominic Moore’s bump into the top nine with Hagelin and Hayes has helped the forecheck immensely. Stepan’s line with Kreider and Jesper Fast had 13 points against the Caps. St. Louis is not a fourth-line player. It might seem safer to add an offensive element to the fourth line against Tampa than it would have been against Washington, but don’t let this matchup fool you. The Rangers want to make use of their speed, sure, but they don’t want to turn this into a track meet and give the Lightning turnovers in the neutral zone.

Update: St. Louis did not begin the game on the first line.

More on Marty

He won’t be sentimental facing the Bolts

Martin St. Louis wants to retire as a Ranger