er, but has seen very limited action on offence this year and

#1 by sakura698 , Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:03 am

TAMPA, Fla. Joe Harvey Jersey . -- Sometimes Steven Stamkos does things that his Tampa Bay Lightning teammates cant help but marvel at. "Just about every shift," linemate Tyler Johnson said. That was clear in Game 1 against the Montreal Canadiens when Stamkos went end-to-end before settling the rolling puck on his stick and firing a perfect shot far side past Carey Price. And even though the Lightning lost the game, that highlight and his two-goal night showed why Stamkos is the X-factor that can tip the balance of the series, no matter how well or how poorly the Habs play. "Thats what we expect out of him," winger Alex Killorn said Thursday. "As long as he continues that, I think he gives us a good chance of winning." Even with starting goaltender Ben Bishop and rookie-of-the-year candidate Ondrej Palat out with upper-body injuries, and even with more than a dozen players making their Stanley Cup playoff debut, the Lightning know they can count on Stamkos. And thats after the 24-year-old Markham, Ont., native missed four months with a broken leg. Stamkos returned March 6 and had five goals in his first seven games. But Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said that the stats were deceiving. "Those first 10-15 games, he wasnt himself," Cooper said Wednesday. "He was just slowly getting himself back. I would say these last five, six games that hes played, hes been an impact player for us." The only other player in the series who has the potential to make as much of an impact is Habs defenceman P.K. Subban, who has known Stamkos since the two played together for the North York Canadiens as eight-year-olds. Subban and Stamkos won a city championship together, then gold in 2008 with Canadas world junior team. Since, their families have remained close friends while theyve built up some healthy animosity as competitors. "I love playing against him," Subban said. "I like making him frustrated, and Im sure hell like to score on me. But the history that we have of playing each other, its been back and forth. When Im on the ice, Im sure he knows Im out there, and I know hes out there." Subban liked getting Stamkos involved in pushing and shoving after the whistle in Game 1 because it meant he was starting to get to him. Beyond that, the Habs defenceman expressed nothing but respect and admiration for his childhood teammate. "That guy, as far as Im concerned, hes probably the best goal-scorer in the league," Subban said. "Good players like him they find ways to be invisible on the ice, and they appear when they have to appear. And players like Stamkos, (Sidney) Crosby and (John) Tavares, they have that ability to disappear and then youre looking over your shoulder and next thing you know the pucks between your legs and hes tapping it in backdoor." That was one of Stamkoss goals, when Killorn gave him a perfect pass on a two-on-one past a siding Andrei Markov. But it was his first of Game 1, a wicked shot that followed a breathtaking rush, that had everyone buzzing. More impressive than banking the puck off the boards to evade Brandon Prust or even the shot itself was how Stamkos managed to settle the puck down in a split second. Teammate J.T. Brown knows he could do the same, but only if he had 20 seconds. Subban didnt realize Stamkos found a way to get the puck down before firing the shot by Price. He simply appreciated how Stamkos finished things off with such subtle skill. "I think sometimes as a shooter, they recognize when to release it," Subban said. "Its not about how hard it is, its just about where you put it and how quick you get it off. He got it off pretty quick. I dont think he needed as much power behind it because he was skating so fast. He had so much momentum already." It was the games most memorable play on a night full of them. It shouldnt be shocking that Stamkos brought his best with the spotlight so bright, given how he beams about being back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011. "Its an unbelievable experience," Stamkos said Wednesday. "Its the most fun a lot of guys have had playing hockey. The intensity is at a whole new level." Elite players find a way to reach or exceed that level. With Bishop unlikely to play this series and Palat a game-time decision for Game 2 Friday night, Tampa Bay as a team has plenty to work on. Turnovers are an issue and so is defensive-zone play, but Stamkos is far from a problem. Instead, he represents the Lightnings best chance to do something special at any given moment. "I dont know what he can do more," Johnson said. "Hes fun to play with, fun to watch, and Im glad hes on our team and not playing against him." Mark Thompson Jersey . And fellow Leaf, Jake Gardiner, hiking in Whistler. Jake McGee Jersey . "[People] keep asking that question and its not a legit question because we dont have that right, we havent arrived yet," Casey responded. "Weve got to take each game at a time, each possession at a time and look at it that way. . Ho-Sang is a highly regarded prospect, as seen in TSNs Midseason Rankings. This was Game 3 of their playoff series and that wasnt the only strange incident in Londons 10-2 win over Windsor.HOUSTON - Led by DeAndre Hopkins, Houstons young receivers have been good all year.They will need to be even better on Sunday at Indianapolis if star receiver Andre Johnson cant play. Johnson suffered a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet hit last weekend and is listed as day to day this week.Hopkins, who was a first-round pick last season, has finally given Houston a big-play threat to play opposite Johnson that the team has lacked for years. Hopkins was solid as a rookie, but has blossomed in his second season and leads the team and is fifth in the AFC with 1,090 yards receiving.Since day one, theyve really put in the work and the effort, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. I think specifically DeAndre is a young receiver thats really improved from year one to year two. Hes done a great job and the exciting thing about him is he can get a lot better. I think he knows that.Hopkins has been helped by the Johnson, who has taken the 22-year-old under his wing since he arrived in Houston. The 33-year-old Johnson taught him as much about life off the field as he has about what he needs to do on it.Coming in last year, he told me that this isnt college. You have to take care of your body and do the things off the field to be able to come out and have a productive day of practice, Hopkins said. I kind of took that for granted last year a little bit, but this year Im doing kind of his routine. I want to follow Andre. What hes doing is working so why not?Hes had four games with more than 100 yards receiving this season, highlighted by a career-high 238 yards receiving two weeks ago.Hopkins has become more of a student of the game in hiss second season and thinks thats another reason for his improvement. Custom Colorado Rockies Jerseys. He has a knack for long receptions and is tied for fourth in the NFL with 19 catches for 20 yards or more and he has six of 40 yards or longer.My knowledge of knowing defensive coverages before the play is snapped or before the play starts (has improved), he said. Just being able to scan the defence and knowing what coverage theyre in, you kind of know where to sit down in zones and just be able to read man or zone. Thats a big thing with this offence; you have to have knowledge of the game.Another young receiver whos helped the Texans this season is Damaris Johnson, a third-year player in his first season in Houston. He has 22 receptions for 250 yards and a touchdown and could see more action this week if Johnson cant go.The Texans could also use Keshawn Martin to pick up the slack if Johnsons out. Hes Houstons punt returner, but has seen very limited action on offence this year and has just six receptions for 78 yards. Another option is DeVier Posey, who has been inactive for each game this season after playing in 14 last year.Coach Bill OBrien said Posey has been working hard in practice and hes confident that he will do well if they need him on Sunday.Houston has been working to get its tight ends more involved in the offence with the three of them combining for just 260 yards receiving so far. The group is led by Garrett Graham, who has 18 receptions for 197 yards, but missed last weeks game with an ankle injury. He is also listed as day to day for Sundays game.___AP NFL website: and ' ' '

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