Bolts continue to roll, even without Stamkos - FOX 13 News

Bolts continue to roll, even without Stamkos

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

The Lightning are off to their best start in franchise history. Just past the halfway point of the season, the Bolts are just 10 games shy of the wins they posted during their Stanley Cup year.

"They've taken ownership and they've put themselves in a conversation to be relevant in the end of March and start of April," said Jon Cooper. You have to give those guys a lot of credit."

What's so amazing about what they've done is the fact they've been able to maintain one of the conference's best records (26-13-4) without Steven Stamkos.

The schedule has been rough. The Lightning just wrapped up a four-game swing through Canada and have won seven of their last 10 games. They come home for just one game before hitting the road for three more games.

"This is one of those road trips where we said we can't let the first half be a fluke," said Cooper. We have to get points on this road trip to keep ourselves relevant and it's been so far so good."

The Bolts picked up a big win against Winnipeg in a game that could have gone either way. Valtterri Filppula has been the key player for the Lightning over the last two months. He was signed in the offseason to be more of a setup guy, but he has been driving this team, scoring four goals in the last five games.

Filppula has 17 goals on the year, just six goals short of his career high.

Marty St. Louis continues his solid play leading the Lightning with 18 goals. The win over Winnipeg came on day that St. Louis needed some good news after getting snubbed by Steve Yzerman for a spot on the Olympic team.

"I'm happy we got the win," said St. Louis. "For Team Canada, you guys can imagine how I feel. Obviously, I'm extremely disappointed and I'll just leave it at that."

Keeping the Lightning in contention in the Eastern Conference is the only concern for St. Louis. The Lightning are third in the East right now with a franchise-record 56 points through 43 games.

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