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2011 NHL Playoffs: Lightning Are Winning With Good, Clean Hockey

The Tampa Bay Lightning have looked like a team that few have expected so far in the 2011 NHL Playoffs. They have played with a sense of purpose and urgency that has allowed them to look pretty darn good against some of the favorites in the Eastern Conference. According to Jeff Klein of the New York Times, that is because the Lightning have shifted their focus towards playing Hockey the right way, as opposed to taking penalties and playing chippy.

They were the most penalized team in Hockey a year ago, this year they ranked 22nd. And when the Bruins tried to lure them into a position that might force them to retaliate and draw a penalty, they maintained their composure.

Within seconds after a whistle, Boston’s Nathan Horton slugged Dominic Moore, Milan Lucic decked Victor Hedman with a gloved fist to the face, and Johnny Boychuk punched Vincent Lecavalier. None of the Lightning players retaliated. Lucic and Horton each received roughing minors and game misconducts.

They can let the Bruins play as physical and bruising as they want to, because they will be the team in the penalty box, while the Lightning enjoy Power Plays and increased scoring opportunities. The Lightning aren't getting caught up in these little mind games that some of the teams have been trying to play with them. They are instead trying to win the games, and that is the only thing they care about.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.