Lightning’s Goodrow proving his value to Stanley Cup champs

Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning’s Barclay Goodrow (19) brings the puck up the ice against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, June 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The star-studded Tampa Bay Lightning beam when talking about the contributions of Barclay Goodrow.

The physical third-line forward is a role player who can go unnoticed with the Lightning bidding to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. He just does his job, and his teammates appreciate it.

Take a look at the first round of the playoffs against Florida. The 28-year-old returned from missing the first five postseason games with an upper-body injury to help the Lightning finish off the Panthers. He was in the lineup contributing as Tampa Bay won twice on the road in taking a 2-1 series lead against the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round.

“You can’t have all Ferraris. Sometimes you need a good-old fashioned four-wheel-drive Jeep to get you through the mud,” coach Jon Cooper said. “That’s what Barclay Goodrow can do for you.”

Goodrow, who’s been a nice fit since being acquired from the San Jose Sharks at last season’s trade deadline, doesn’t quite know what to make of being compared to an automobile.

But he’ll take it .

“I think they’re pretty reliable cars. I know their resale value’s pretty good. They hold up in all conditions,” he said after scoring the winning goal in Game 1 at Carolina.

Of the four goals he’s scored in 51 career playoff games, three are game-winners.

“I think when I was traded here, obviously there’s so much skill on the team, so much high-end elite (talent), goal scoring, playmaking, whatever it may be. I think my game’s a little different,” Goodrow said.

“I can bring physicality, and I do take a lot of pride in being defensively sound and being counted on to do a good job on the penalty kill and defend the lead when we’re up late in games,” he added. “I just try to play the game I’ve always played.”

High-scoring Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point, Vezina Trophy finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy, and defensemen Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh garner far more media attention.

Goodrow’s value to the Lightning is not lost on coaches and teammates who marvel about the little things he does to help Tampa Bay succeed. He appeared in 55 games during the regular season, finishing with six goals and 20 points.

“He usually doesn’t get his accolades from game-winning goals, he’s usually the guy stopping game-tying goals from happening,” Cooper said. “So you’re really happy for guys that are team-first players that have an opportunity to bask in a little bit of the limelight, which he deserves.”

Goodrow took advantage of a mistake by Carolina goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic to score from a difficult angle in Game 1.

His other playoff winners came against the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round two years ago, helping San Jose stave off elimination in Game 5 before delivering a Game 7, series-clinching goal in overtime.

“You can tell he’s a big-game kind of player. … He rises to the occasion,” Hedman said.

“We can trust him in any situation. Tie game, he’s out there, makes a goal happen. We’ve got a lead, he’s out there defending. First and foremost, he sacrifices his body. He’s willing to block shots. We all feed off that,” McDonagh said. “You see his awareness. Time and time again, he just seems to be in the right spots.”

The Hurricanes rebounded on Thursday night with a 3-2 overtime victory in Game 3. The best-of-7 series continues in Florida on Saturday.

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