Namestnikov shines between Stamkos and Kucherov

by Gary Shelton on November 9, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

This time, it was Namestnikov who led the Bolts' win./

This time, it was Namestnikov who led the Bolts' win./JEFFREY S. KKNG

Thursday, 2 a.m.

Everyone knows about Steven Stamkos. He's been doing this for a while. Take Wednesday night, when Stammer added three assists to his league-leading point total, which is now at 28.

And eveyone knows about Nikita Kucherov. He's a rising star. As long as you're talking Wednesday night, Kucherov added a goal to his league-leading total, which is now at 15.

But the other guy? Vladislav Namestnikov?

Turns out, Vlad's not so bad, either.

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Stamkos continues to lead the league in scoring with 28 points./CARMEN MANDATO

Stamkos continues to lead the league in scoring with 28 points./CARMEN MANDATO

Namestnikov scored twice Wednesday night in an impressive 5-1 victory over San Jose. The Kucherov-Stamkos-Namestnikov line had three goals and six assists. It improved the Lightning's record to 12-2-2.

Namestnikov has seven goals and 17 points on the season.

“Yeah, they're special players,” Namestnikov said of Kucherov and Stamkos. “They've proven year after year they're elite players and its fun playing with them.”

The Sharks scored quickly, taking only 24 seconds to score against the Lightning. But after that, Andrei Vasilevskiy smothered the Sharks, stopping 32 straight shots.

Cooper said he was pleased with how the road trip began.

“Yeah, after the 30-second mark," Cooper said. "That was, you look at the score now, I don’t know if we were thinking that after that first shift. Actually probably says a little bit about our team the way we responded after that because it always feels like you come in this building and they jump on you and you try to weather that first five minutes. Unfortunately, we gave up the goal, but we really responded after that.”

Cooper was pleased that defensemen, such as Jake Dotchin, who scored his first goal, are helping with the load.

“We have a top line that’s sitting up there in scoring, but you need other guys to help you out," Cooper said. "You need, especially the way the game’s played today, your offense is five-man units and when your D is chipping in then they become a threat. Now you have to defend everybody, and it’s been helping us out.”

The Lightning play the Los Angeles Kings tonight at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time. According to Cooper, it will be a challenge.

“They’re a top team in the West and it’s going to be a tough one for us,  Cooper said. "It's obviously a back-to-back. I’m looking forward to the challenge. This is a big trip for us. It’s a huge step to get the two points out of tonight, but we’ve got a couple big, heavy teams that we’ve got to find a way to beat those teams. I watched that game they played in Anaheim (Tuesday) night, and it was a man’s game. Those two teams don’t seem to like each other too much. (Coach John) Stevens has done a great job with them. They’re playing fast. They’ve got skill and they’ve got these young guys that are really making a difference for them.”

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