With Playoffs around the Corner, Stamkos Is Heating Up

3/25/14 in NHL   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

Mar 24, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) skates with the puck against the Ottawa Senators during the first period at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsWith the Stanley Cup Playoffs right around the corner, there is no doubt that games are going to be a lot tighter.

When teams are fighting for a playoff spot or looking to solidify their spot in their division and conference, said team tightens up on defense, gets in shooting lanes, blocks shots and generally makes life difficult when it comes to putting the puck in the net. When two teams go at it with a playoff berth on the line, it makes for really exciting hockey.

With that said, certain players will still find ways to score goals. It is these kinds players that every team could use when making a run towards the playoffs and when a club has said player, it certainly makes putting the puck in the net a lot easier.

This is exactly the case when it comes to Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos. With the Lightning trying to hold onto one of the top three spots in the Atlantic Division, Stamkos has found a way to elevate his goal-scoring prowess.

In just 27 games this season due to a
broken shin he sustained back in November, Stamkos has 21 goals. Hockey pundits and fans knew that Stamkos was a goal scoring machine prior to the injury, but the fact that he has come back and has picked-up where he left off is amazing.

In his last seven games, Stamkos has seven goals, highlighted by a hat trick against the Toronto Maple Leafs last week in Toronto in front of his family and friends. In his last four games, the 24-year-old sniper has five goals, including a
baseball-type goal he scored last night in his team's 4-3 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators.

There are many reasons why Stamkos is able to put the puck in the net with relative ease as compared with other players. For starters, Stamkos has one of the best shots in the game.

The Lightning's best player has one of the hardest shots in the game and has an ability to fire pucks in the net off passes from his teammates. He also has one of the most accurate shots in the game as his 21 goals have come on 96 shots.

Speaking of shooting the puck, Stamkos is never afraid to shoot the puck. He is averaging close to four shots per game and has shown that when he has the puck, his eyes are always looking at the net.

Stamkos is also having success this season because he is a player that can score from any area on the ice. He can score from the point, from the dots, from in front of the net, etc. He is a threat to score from anywhere on the ice. His favorite area is off to the side in one of the face-off dots where he can one-time deft passes into the net.

The Lightning's franchise forward is also boosting his team's power play. Stamkos leads his team with seven power play goals and when his team has the man advantage, the puck always seems to gravitate to him.

One also cannot forget that Stamkos is usually able to score when his team needs it the most. Stamkos is tied for the team lead in game winning goals this season with four and come playoff time, the Lightning will need him to come through in the clutch.

With Stamkos scoring goals at an incredible rate, the Lightning could end up being an extremely tough team to play against playoff time. It is that time of year when every goal matters and with Stamkos's extraordinary offensive abilities, it makes the Lightning a formidable team in hockey's second season.
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