Lightning's Stamkos puts pressure on himself to score in Stanley Cup final | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Lightning's Stamkos puts pressure on himself to score in Stanley Cup final

Steven Stamkos doesn't have a goal yet in the Stanley Cup final. Part of it's bad luck, but the Tampa Bay Lightning captain has pressure to score. If he doesn't, the Lightning are in trouble against the Chicago Blackhawks. Stamkos smiles as he listens to a question during a news conference, Sunday, June 7, 2015, in Chicago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Nam Y. Huh
June 12, 2015 - 11:50 AM

BRANDON, Fla. - Steven Stamkos came within a stick blade of making his Stanley Cup goal drought storyline go away.

The Tampa Bay Lightning captain doesn't have a goal in the final yet but came temptingly close in the final minutes of Game 4. All that prevented Stamkos from scoring was the stick of Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Brent Seabrook.

It was so close teammates Victor Hedman and Alex Killorn started to put their hands in the air. They don't think it'll be long until they get to celebrate a Stamkos goal.

"He's been getting looks," Killorn said Friday. "As long as he's been getting looks, that's all you can control. It's just a matter of time before he scores."

As the face of the franchise, Stamkos puts plenty of pressure on himself to produce. That'll only increase with his streak of games without a goal now at six going into Game 5 of the final Saturday.

"I expect more from myself," Stamkos said Thursday. "No one said this was going to be easy."

Part of the problem can be chalked up to bad luck. The league's second-leading scorer during the regular season has gone through streaks and droughts in the playoffs and does look due for a goal or two.

The end of Game 4 Wednesday night was the best example. Stamkos was denied by Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford on an A-plus chance from the doorstep, and his shot that Seabrook deflected would have hit a wide-open net.

It's too late in the season and there's too much at stake for Stamkos to be patient and wait for his breaks to come. But the coaching staff is happy with his overall play.

"Yeah, he's not scoring, but watch him work without the puck, watch him back-check, watch him finish checks," associate coach Rick Bowness said. "All those little things that everyone needs to do to win. Jonathan Toews has won Cups doing it that way."

Just like the Blackhawks, who have one goal combined from Toews and Patrick Kane, the Lightning believe they can win the Cup even if Stamkos doesn't score. Seven different players have goals in the series.

"We don't look to one guy to score," said Killorn, who along with Cedric Paquette has scored twice. "We don't feel like we put pressure on him to score. There’s a bunch of guys that can do it."

Bowness said Stamkos taking the onus on himself is what makes him a great player and that "his heart is in the right place." The Markham, Ont., native wants to score but would rather be getting the Cup from commissioner Gary Bettman next week.

"It's going to fall on the guys that you expect. It should," Stamkos said. "Right now it's about finding a way to win."


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News from © The Canadian Press, 2015
The Canadian Press

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