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Eastern Conference

Lightning’s Steven Stamkos Driven To Finish Job Against Capitals

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Tampa Bay Lightning superstar Steven Stamkos is a man on a mission to reach the elusive Stanley Cup that has evaded his grasp during his career

“You have to look at it like: ‘Is this the last opportunity?’ Because opportunities like this are so few and far between,” Stamkos said (h/t NHL.com).

“With some of the injuries I’ve had, you have a new perspective on your career as an individual and you have a new perspective of when you get the opportunity to play on a team of this caliber. You just never know. You need so many things to go your way in the playoffs when you go on a run to get where you are now.”

The Lightning are one victory from the Stanley Cup Final and currently lead their best of 7 series against the Washington Capitals 3-2 as the teams head into Game 6 at Capital One Arena in Washington on Monday.

The last time Stamkos as the Lightning reached the Stanley Cup Final was back in 2015 when they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in 6 games and Stamkos is still haunted by what could have been had he scored on a first-period breakaway instead of seeing his shot clank off the goal post.

“I still remember the sound,” Stankos said. “I don’t forget anything.”

“He’s been through tough times before,” Chris Stamkos, Steven’s dad, said of his son. “He knows what it takes.”

“You see the core, you see the ability that we have and you see how special it can be,” Stamkos said. “You want to be part of that. I saw that here. I knew there was a great window here.

“And now we’re on our way right now.”

Stamkos is only 28, so it’s not crazy to think he will have another shot, or more, during his career, but his teammates also know that it’s not crazy to think this may be his last shot as well.

“Not at all,” Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. “He’s absolutely right. Like he said, we’ve been close but we’ve also missed the playoffs. These opportunities don’t come around every year. For us, we have to approach every game like our life depends on it.”

“Mats Sundin. Markus Naslund. The Sedin twins. Just to name a few guys,” Hedman said. “They’ve been close but they haven’t reached all the way.

“We’re so fortunate to be one game away to play for the Stanley Cup again. For us to reach that goal, we have to play our best hockey from here on in.”

“Like I said, you never know if it’s your last opportunity,” Stamkos said. “And if it is, you want to take advantage of it.

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Eastern Conference

Lightning Shopping Slater Koekkoek

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The Tampa Bay Lightning are shopping defenseman, and former first round pick, Slater Koekkoek, according to SportsNet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Tampa Bay is now motivated to trade away their once prized prospect, who is currently playing with the Syracuse Crunch on a conditioning stint.

Koekkoek is waiver eligible and will become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights in the summer of 2019.

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Columbus Blue Jackets

Blue Jackets’ Sergei Bobrovsky Will Not Dress Due To Team Incident

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The Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that veteran goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will not dress for tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators due to what is being described as an “incident”.

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen stated the following:

“There are certain expectations and values that we have established for our players that define our culture. An incident occurred in which Sergei failed to meet those expectations and values, so we made the decision that he would not be with the team for tonight’s game. This is an internal matter and we will have no further comment at this time.”

In corresponding moves, the Blue Jackets has recalled Jean-Francois Berube, and placed both Brandon Dubinsky and Markus Hannikainen on injured reserve.

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Eastern Conference

Leafs’ Frederik Andersen Targeting Saturday Return

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Toronto Maple Leafs’ goaltender Frederik Andersen said that he is eyeing the team’s upcoming game against the Boston Bruins on Saturday to make his return to the ice.

Andersen was placed on injured reserve on January 3rd, retroactive to December 23rd, and hasn’t played since December 22nd.

Despite his goal of a Saturday return, Maple Leafs’ head coach Mike Babcock is looking towards Monday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche as the best time for his return.

Babcock pours a little cold water on Andersen’s reveal, saying it might be Monday vs. Colorado. Hmmm…— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) January 9, 2019

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