The Tampa Bay Lightning have had many changes in the past few weeks as longtime winger and a top offensive producer Martin St. Louis was traded, Steven Stamkos returned from injury and newly acquired Ryan Callahan joined the club as part of the aforementioned St. Louis trade.
A lot of new faces and a lot of new lines as Jon Cooper tweaks the lineup card to find the right chemistry and right now it is starting to come together.
Callahan has found a new home on the second line with Ondrej Palat and Valterri Filppula and was instrumental in the win over the Vancouver Canucks as he dug out pucks, out working along the board to set up some nice passes and opportunities in front of Eddie Lack which led to a Stamkos goal. Since coming to the Lightning, Callahan has 4 points in 5 games and is really doing all of the little things that coaches love.
Cooper likes that line so much that he has started the last two games with it and both have paid off positive dividends with two wins and four points. Not only is it working from the overall picture but it’s also paying off for Filppula and Palat who both scored in the win against the Canucks and are riding point streaks.
Course, it seems Palat is able to play with anyone has he is the NHL’s hottest player right now with 9 points in 5 games and he is second among all rookies.
Not to be left out, Filppula had two goals last night and is now one goal shy of his career high 23 goals. All season, he has been a force in all three zones and has played well with whoever has paired up with him. It’s a wonder the Detroit Red Wings let him walk last offseason.
It seems to be that the Filppula-Callahan-Palat line is now Cooper’s money line and is consistently producing night in and night out. To have a line like that produce the numbers that they do and play at the level they are playing, it will make the Lightning a formidable opponent come time for the post season. Add this line with a healthy producing Stamkos, who is starting to heat up and get comfortable, and the fireworks will go off.
Upon returning from a road trip where the Bolts didn’t play well and lost a lot of games where they left points on the table, it seemed the only way to fix their woes was some “home cooking.”
The last few games are showing positive results that it’s working and “Chef” Cooper is perfecting the recipe in time for the playoffs.