Posted January 17, 2013 on AP on Fox
Tampa-bay-lightning
Steven Stamkos knows reaching 60-goals again will be unlikely in this year's abbreviated 48-game season. But the Tampa Bay center feels the Lightning returning to the playoffs is well within reach in the lockout-curtailed campaign. ''Getting into the playoffs, that's our goal here,'' Stamkos said. ''We want to be a playoff team. It's going to be a different year. It's a sprint. You've got to get off to a good start.'' Stamkos had an NHL-best 60 goals when the Lightning, one year removed from reaching the Eastern Conference finals, missed out on postseason play last season. ''After last year, we were very disappointed,'' Stamkos said. ''This league is about consistency. You have to find a way that, if things aren't going well, you don't let it slide. Last year we were guilty of that. We can't take anything for granted.'' Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, holdovers from Tampa Bay's 2004 Stanley Cup championship team, provide a solid nucleus. Newcomers include goalie Anders Lindback, and defensemen Sami Salo and Matt Carle. ''Obviously, we want to get into the playoffs,'' St. Louis said. ''Get better as the year goes on, and be at the top of our game when playoffs start. I'm excited about our team, obviously.'' Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher expects the fine-tuning to be somewhat off for all teams early on, but doesn't feel intensity will be an issue. ''I feel that 48 games is plenty of time to have some ups and some downs, and to manage them,'' Boucher said. ''I think there's going to be ups and downs like every season, but obviously you don't want to have a lull that lasts too long because you'll probably be out of the playoffs. ''So definitely there's going to be urgency from the first game, first period until the last one,'' Boucher added. ''The players are aware of it, we're aware if it, but I think it's going to be good for the fans. I think the intensity of the games can be extremely high. I think the main part is that there's going to be so much intensity in those games it's going to be very, very interesting.'' The NHL also played a 48-game season following a lockout in the 1994-95 season, when Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman was a star with the Detroit Red Wings. ''What really stood out to me that year was, it was like playoffs from Day 1,'' Yzerman said. ''You played virtually every second day. You're always preparing for a game. There was no breaks in the schedule. It's a playoff kind of atmosphere. It was enjoyable. We played a lot of games. You didn't practice a whole lot. You were always on the go. Every game takes on even more importance.'' The Lightning host the Washington Capitals in the regular-season opener on Saturday night. ''This one we had to wait for,'' Tampa Bay chairman Jeff Vinik said. ''Steve Yzerman's had a great offseason, and we're thrilled the puck drops'' Saturday.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Steven Stamkos always looking to improve

ESTERO, Fla. Life at the top in the NHL can be a precarious dance. A star forever tries to move forward, to shake the fingers eager to drag him down. His existence is a swift, high-stakes game of cat and mouse. Grow and evolve, and he has claws. Become complacent and stagnate, and he scurries to adapt. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos, the leagues reigning goal-scoring...

Lightning make roster moves as they head into the season opener

As the Lightning have one day left of training camp, the team has announced the roster to start the season.  Here is the official release from the Bolts: The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned forward Tyler Johnson and defensemen Mark Barbiero and Radko Gudas to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced....

Lightning Enjoy A Day On The Beach After Practice

from Scott Butherus of the NaplesNews, It wasn't all hard work for the Tampa Bay Lightning during their time in Southwest Florida. Following Thursday's practice, the team spent some time at Fort Myers Beach to get to know each other a little bit better off the ice, enjoy the gorgeous weather, and have a little bit of fun. Part of the team-building activities included...

Lightning send three players to AHL before opener

The Tampa Bay Lightning reassigned forwards Mike Angelidis, J.T. Wyman and Kyle Wilson to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League on Friday to get down to the roster limit of 23 before the season opener. The Lightning open at home against the Washington Capitals on Saturday night.

No Pressure On Lindback

from Pierre LeBrun on ESPN, When I began to talk about how I felt we might all look back one day and feel that Tampa Bay’s acquisition of Anders Lindback might end up being the best move of the entire 2012 NHL offseason, the Tampa Bay Lightning GM jumped in and, although I couldn’t see him across the phone line, I pictured Yzerman waving his hand down at me as if to calm...

Ranking the top 20 NHL forwards

1) Steven Stamkos, C, Lightning – He scored 60 goals for a team possessing the 25th-best power play. Tampa Bay has taken steps to improve with the man advantage.2) Evgeni Malkin, C, Penguins – He elevated his game when Sidney Crosby missed much of last season.  Then he dominated the KHL during the lockout.3) Sidney Crosby, C, Penguins – He missed 101 games during the past...

Southeast Division Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning Season Preview Record Last Year: 38-36-8 Goal Differential: -46 Team 5v5 Fenwick: 48.31% (20th in NHL) 5v5 Sh%: 9.9% 5v5 Sv%:  .899 PP SF/60: 41.5 (28th in NHL) PK SA/60: 53.4 (25th in NHL) With the season set to begin a couple days, it's now a good time to see what the other teams in the NHL have been up to over the last six months...

Michael Stuart: Opening Night Game Preview: Lightning vs. Capitals

After a painful few months of waiting for all parties involved, the 2013 National Hockey League season is about to begin. The Tampa Bay Lightning will start with a tilt at the Tampa Bay Times Forum against their division foe, the always dangerous Washington Capitals. Last season, the Lightning fared moderately well against the Capitals finishing with a record of 3-1-2. It...

Tampa Bay Lightning 2013 season preview

A lockout shortened season will be a true test for the Bolts. Listed below is the 2013 roster, offseason moves, players to keep an eye on, and how they may finish this season. Roster Forwards #     Name 89   Cory Conacher 19   B.J. Crombeen 18   Adam Hall 76   Pierre-Cedric Labrie 4     Vincent Lecavalier 12   Ryan Malone 67   Benoit Pouliot 16   Teddy Purcell 11   Tom...

Steven Stamkos, Sidney Crosby Seen as Best Bets to Score 50 Goals During 48-Game Season

Fifty goals in 50 games is one of the most impressive feats an NHL sniper can achieve. It’s only been done eight times in the history of the game and only five players have done it: Maurice Richard (1944-45), Mike Bossy (1980-81), Wayne Gretzky (1981-82, 1983-84 and 1984-85), Mario Lemieux (1988-89) and Brett Hull (1990-91 and 1991-92). The 2013 NHL season will have 48 games but...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.