Sport: Schedule helps Lightning keep focus after Presidents' Trophy - PressFrom - US
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SportSchedule helps Lightning keep focus after Presidents' Trophy

20:00  24 march  2019
20:00  24 march  2019 Source:   ap.org

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Arizona Coyotes preview: Bolts can clinch the Presidents’ Trophy tonight

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Arizona Coyotes preview: Bolts can clinch the Presidents’ Trophy tonight But can they break their Arizona Coyotes curse?

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) celebrates after his goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Arizona Coyotes Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper congratulates center Steven Stamkos (91) after becoming the all-time franchise goal leader (384) with

The Lightning clinched the Presidents ' Trophy for the top regular-season mark in the league with a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. The Lightning , who have 56 wins and 116 points, will try to become the ninth Presidents ' Trophy winner to win the Cup.

Schedule helps Lightning keep focus after Presidents' Trophy© The Associated Press Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88), of Russia, celebrates with defenseman Braydon Coburn (55), center Yanni Gourde, second from left, and center Steven Stamkos (91) as Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) skates by after an NHL hockey game Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in Washington. The Lightning won 5-4 in overtime. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

While the bulk of contenders duke it out to secure playoff spots, the Tampa Bay Lightning sit comfortably atop the NHL with nothing left to play for.

The Lightning clinched the Presidents' Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs with nine games left in the regular season. With no blueprint for how to play hockey games that don't matter, they're glad that eight of their final nine games come against teams currently in playoff position and turning this into a dress rehearsal for what could be a long run.

Lightning top Coyotes 4-1 to clinch Presidents' Trophy

Lightning top Coyotes 4-1 to clinch Presidents' Trophy Steven Stamkos scored his 36th goal of the season and the Tampa Bay Lightning clinched the Presidents' Trophy with a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night. The Lightning, who have 116 points, will have home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs. BOX SCORE: LIGHTNING 4, COYOTES 1 Stamkos became the franchise leader in goals with his 384th. Victor Hedman added his 10th goal of the season and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 shots. Anthony Cirelli scored his fifth short-handed goal of the season while Yanni Gourde notched his 20th goal of the season.

The Presidents ' Trophy (French: Trophée des présidents ) is an award presented by the National Hockey League (NHL) to the team that finishes with the most points (i.e. best record)

The Lightning locked up everything last week — Presidents ’ Trophy , thus top seed and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs — and doesn’t seem to have much to play for in the final nine games of the regular season. That doesn’t matter to this team. “Realistically, things have probably been

"It helps with the teams that we have left on the schedule," forward Adam Erne said. "They're all going to be playoff-like games, and I think we have a playoff mentality and we know that we can't just flip a switch once playoffs start. We want to prepare ourselves for the first round."

Tampa Bay is already 2-1-0 since clinching, faces Boston on Monday and in the season finale and has games left against Washington, Montreal and Toronto. There's very little of the unpredictability of what to expect from opponents playing out the string — save for a game at cellar-dwelling Ottawa — and plenty of meaningful games to keep the Lightning from getting complacent.

This is the first Presidents' Trophy in Lightning history, so when he was asked how to handle clinching so early, coach Jon Cooper quipped, "I guess we're going to find that out."

Lightning hopeful Hedman will be back for playoffs

Lightning hopeful Hedman will be back for playoffs Injured Saturday night, Hedman is doubtful to play for Tampa's final four games.

Tampa Bay earned its first-ever Presidents ' Trophy , and Steven Stamkos set a franchise record for the most goals as the Lightning beat the visiting Arizona Coyotes 4-1 on Monday night. Victor Hedman's goal in the first minute of the third period broke a 1-1 tie, and Tampa Bay's top-ranked penalty-kill held

The NHL's Presidents ' Trophy annually goes to the team with the best regular-season record. The Lightning clinched its first with a 4-1 victory over Arizona Earning 16 out of the remaining 18 would give the Lightning the most points among Presidents ’ Trophy winners. The 1995-96 Red Wings won

Cooper already should be in contention for the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year, but he shouldn't have to do too much motivating considering the Canadiens, Bruins or Maple Leafs and Capitals could reasonably make up his team's path to the Stanley Cup Final.

"A lot of times the opponent brings it out in you," Cooper said. "A lot of these teams will pull the best out of you, and we've just got to be ready for it."

Captain Steven Stamkos acknowledged it's impossible to replicate playoff emotion in the regular season but said "there's still some things that we want to accomplish."

Still possible is the single-season wins record of 62 set by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings — before the addition of shootouts and elimination of tie games — and the Lightning would have to win four of their final six just to tie.

MVP candidate Nikita Kucherov should finish first in points by a lot, but he's also seven shy of Alexander Mogilny's single-season record for a Russian player. Countryman Andrei Vasilevskiy leads the league in victories by a goaltender and is also making a case to win the first Vezina Trophy of his career.

Lightning Huge Favorites for Stanley Cup Odds Heading Into the Playoffs

Lightning Huge Favorites for Stanley Cup Odds Heading Into the Playoffs Lightning Huge Favorites for Stanley Cup Odds Heading Into the Playoffs

Tampa Bay earned its first-ever Presidents ’ Trophy , and Steven Stamkos set a franchise record for the most goals as the Lightning beat the visiting Arizona Coyotes 4-1 on Monday night. They became the second-fastest ever to notch the Presidents ’ Trophy , doing it in their 73rd game.

The Lightning clinched the Presidents ' Trophy for the top regular-season mark in the league with a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. The Lightning , who have 56 wins and 116 points, will try to become the ninth Presidents ' Trophy winner to win the Cup. The Presidents ' Trophy was first awarded by

There's a lot of guys having great seasons individually and as a team we're having a great season," defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "We want to see how well we can finish, too, and there's a lot of pride in that. ... Collectively as a team I think we've set ourselves up obviously for a great opportunity and we're trying to understand that and really just try and gain some confidence here."

More than anything, the Lightning don't want to lose a step that could be costly in the playoffs. Cooper is unsure if he'll rest any players down the stretch, and Stamkos doesn't expect that at least until the final couple of games.

The fact that most of these games will matter to opponents could affect Cooper's decisions, too. But he and Tampa Bay's focus is on getting 16 victories to win the franchise's first title since 2004 and there doesn't seem to be any lack of focus on that end goal with six games left in the regular season.

"You want to make sure that you're not giving any gimme games while you're trying to rev up your engine again for the playoffs," defenseman Braydon Coburn said. "You don't want to be the team that's limping in the playoffs just because you had a good record."

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Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Lightning, Kucherov finish season making serious history.
128 points for both team and player, with 62 wins tying an NHL record.

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