The Tampa Bay Lightning were able to squeak by the Detroit Red Wings in the first round, but captain Steven Stamkos didn’t play a major role in the series. He did chip in three assists and had a plus-three rating, but the 25-year-old forward didn’t have a single goal in the seven-game series.
“I think the fact that Stammer hasn’t scored and we won the series probably bodes well,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper argued, per Bryan Burns of the Lightning’s website.
It certainly highlights the team’s depth, which has been a strong point this season thanks to the efforts of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat. All three finished the regular season with at least 60 points to help the Lightning lead the league offensively.
Still, the Canadiens are a very strong team this season and were able to sweep Tampa Bay back in 2014. It would be very challenging for the Lightning to get by Montreal without significant contributions from Stamkos.
“Trust me, Stammer’s time to shine is coming up,” Cooper said, according to NHL.com’s Аrpon Basu.
The Lightning need to hope that’s the case.