The Lightning's lineup at Pittsburgh on Sunday night was an interesting study in contrasts. Seven of the 20 players in uniform are in their 30s. Another seven are under the age of 25. That's no accident. After missing the playoffs last season, the Lightning wanted to inject some talented and hungry, young players onto coach Guy Boucher's roster and the early results are impressive. Three rookies skated against the Penguins in Sunday's 5-3 setback as right wing Richard Panik and centers Cory Conacher and Alex Killorn combined for 52 shifts and two points. "These guys are great young players who don't look like they're young players," said Lightning center Steven Stamkos, not exactly a team elder after turning 23 earlier this month. "They're going to make some mistakes, but you can see how quickly they learn. They're getting an opportunity and they are a big part of why we're having success." Conacher scored his seventh goal Sunday and he leads all rookies with 17 points in 18 games. Killorn assisted on an Eric Brewer goal against the Penguins for his fifth point in eight games, and Panik fashioned a highlight-reel goal at Carolina on Saturday, batting his own rebound around the net before beating Dan Ellis on a backhander from the opposite circle.
Tampa Bay Lightning blending youth with experience
Tampa Tribune | Feb 26