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Tampa Bay Lightning |  Anthony Duclair won the hockey lottery

Tampa Bay Lightning | Anthony Duclair won the hockey lottery

To say Anthony Duclair's season has turned 180 degrees is an understatement.

On March 5, he scored two goals and two assists, but since he was doing so in a San Jose Sharks uniform, his evening ended poorly. The Sharks lost 7-6 to the Stars, in what was their eighth straight loss.

Four days later, he gave himself a more modest harvest: a goal and an assist. But since he was with a club worthy of the NHL — the Tampa Bay Lightning — Duclair was entitled to a happy ending to the game, a 7-0 win. This was the first in a string of five straight wins.

Thursday night, Duclair will take part in the Bell Center during the Lightning-Canadian duel. The Floridians will try to sign No. 10H Win 12 games since Duclair arrived in Tampa.

“It's motivating. You come into an organization that expects to win, and you want to win the Cup every year,” Duclair noted in a news conference late Thursday afternoon. “It's still easy to get motivated every day, every practice. I love this.” the environment. “

We can understand that Duclair is very elegant. He's been traded from team to team since arriving in the NHL, and he's finally getting a little stability with the Panthers. Last season was his third at Florida, a campaign that ended in late June with the final game.

Except for that in 1any In July, the Panthers sent him to the deathbed of the NHL, namely the Sharks. This team was expected to be at its lowest point this season and they did not disappoint. He lost his first 11 games this season, and now he's in 32H And last place in the general classification.

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“It was still crazy. When I moved to San Jose that summer, I knew what kind of situation it was. I talked to Mike Greer [le DG] He told me that they brought me to help the youth. “I think I did a good job as a leader there,” Duclair confirms. These are the things that happen. The teams that won had years like that. But I'm a competitor, and I want to reach the final like last year. »

In good company

Duclair won life's lottery by joining a playoff-qualified team, but there's more.

In my first game I played with [Anthony] Cirelli and [Steven] Stamkos. It's not worse. Then I played with [Nikita] Kucherov and [Brayden] a point. Even better. There's so much talent, so many good players on this team, no matter where I play, I'll be fine. It's been a lot of fun since I've been here.

Anthony Duclair

On Wednesday in Toronto, Duclair was still playing with Point and former Remparts teammate Kucherov. He had an assist on Point's goal, bringing his total to 10 (5 goals, 5 assists) in 11 games.

“I had a good meeting with John Cooper the day before the first game,” Quebec says. He told me they put me in Top 6 beginning. They've needed it since the start of the season.

“I had no idea where I would be traded to and I didn't think Tampa would be an option, especially after the three years I spent in Florida! But with my friend [Matt] Dumba, one of my close friends, and I arrived and settled down. There's a lot of good guys in this locker room, a lot of good veterans. »

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Martin St. Louis, who knows a thing or two about lightning, doesn't fall out of his chair when he sees Duclair's success.

“I'm not surprised it's good suitable. He's joined a team that plays a lot in possession of the puck, and I think that's one of Duclair's strengths, the Canadian coach analyzed on Thursday morning. He has a good shot and plays with great playmakers. She's big Game Collectively, it arrives and goes. He's not the first player to arrive at this time of year and be fit. I'm not saying it's easy, but it's a good environment for players of this type. »

Not all of Lightning's acquisitions in recent years have had the same success when they arrived. Nick Paul, with 14 points in 21 games at the end of the 2021-2022 season, was a compelling case. “It takes a general manager who is able to find players who are a good fit,” Cooper recalled in a pre-game press conference. Paul and Duke are framed very well. »

But others, like Brandon Hagel (7 points in 22 games, also in 2021-2022), Blake Coleman (one assist in nine games in 2020) and Barclay Goodreau (two assists in eight games in 2020) needed some adjustment period.

However, Paul and Hagel eventually finished the season. Coleman and Gaudreau, with their first two Stanley Cups in a row. Beyond points, this is how we will measure the impact of the Duclair and Dumba acquisitions.