GLENDALE, Ariz. — Among the myriad movements created by the loss of C Steven Stamkos to injury is a revamped power play.
Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper has shuffled the two units, which has given a different look to each in the two games since Stamkos suffered a broken leg.
With Sami Salo missing the previous two games with a lower body injury — he returned on Saturday — Cooper put D Victor Hedman on the top unit with Marty St. Louis, Teddy Purcell, J.T. Brown and Valtteri Filppula, who was on the second unit since the start of the season. The second unit consisted of Tyler Johnson, Richard Panik, Alex Killorn, Brett Connolly and Salo.
The shuffled units have offered a different look and feel for both.
“You take off a few of the guys that may get the puck — Sami is a shooter and Stammer is a shooter — and all of a sudden now we have a little bit more creativity in the sense that now there is not really a go-to guy who we are going to,’’ Cooper said. “Now we have to make plays and there was a lot more movement.’’
That paid off with a pair of power play goals Thursday against Anaheim with St. Louis putting in a rebound from the left post, instead of being positioned at his normal spot along the right wall where he was situated for most of the season on the top unit.
“You probably would not have seen them in that part of the ice (by the post) in prior games, now he’s going from the opposite side right on the doorstep,’’ Cooper said. “So I have to give Marty a lot of credit because we’ve discussed this at length about moving guys around and putting guys in different situations and being a little bit more unpredictable, and it’s been working for us so far.’’
For the second unit, it’s more about trying to be a bit less creative and develop a shooting mentality.
“We have to rely on shots and get pucks to the net,’’ Killorn said. “We don’t want our plays to be pretty because we know it’s tough in this league to pass through guys, so we are looking to get shots from Sami and make some rebounds.’’
Getting a look
Cooper did not rule out the possibility of rookie D Dmitry Korobov finding some ice time at some point on the West Coast trip.
Korobov was called up on Tuesday when Keith Aulie and Salo suffered injuries the previous day. Though there was some discussion on whether to send Korobov back to Syracuse, with D Mark Barberio now banged up the decision was made to keep Korobov for the road trip.
“We’ve got them here, he’s a prospect and he had a really good preseason with us,’’ Cooper said. “We are in a situation where we’re probably going to need him at some point so you might as well get him into these games while you have him up here. I can’t say that for sure but I’d like to be able to get him into one of these games on this trip just to give him a little taste of playing a regular season.
“Experience is everything and the more you can get the better you’re going to be.’’
While Salo returned to the lineup after missing two games, Barberio missed Saturday with an upper body injury, believed to be his left arm as he was on the ice Saturday morning doing limited drills with only his right hand on his stick.
Aulie, who has missed the past three games with an undisclosed injury to his right arm, also skated briefly Saturday.
In addition Tom Pyatt, out since Oct. 8 with a broken collarbone, is traveling and practicing with the team, though he has not been cleared for contact.
Cooper said all but Pyatt could be ready to return before the four-game road trip ends Friday at Anaheim.
Nuts and Bolts
LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Korobov and Barberio were scratched. ... Jonathan Drouin, the No. 3 overall pick, will serve as captain for the Super Series event this week involving the top players from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League against a team from Russia. Drouin entered Saturday with 12 goals and 36 points in 17 games with Halifax, tied for third in league scoring. ... The first period power play goal for Phoenix was the first allowed on the road by Tampa Bay since Oct. 8 in Buffalo.