TAMPA — When Lightning coach Jon Cooper shuffled his forward lines earlier this week, he not only placed Blake Coleman on the first scoring line, he also gave him ice time on the team’s second power-play unit.
Since the Lightning acquired Coleman in a trade with the Devils a year ago this month, his special teams contributions have mainly been on the penalty kill. But Coleman is no stranger to the power play, having scored four man-advantage goals with New Jersey.
Though Coleman is primarily a defensive-minded forward, he’s scored 20 goals in each of the past three regular seasons. In the Lightning’s 3-0 win over Carolina Wednesday, Coleman scored a well-timed power-play goal near the end of the first period to give Tampa Bay a two-goal lead.
“As our team goes, there’s a couple guys that play both special teams, but for the most part, everybody’s played one or the other,” Cooper said. “So it’s good to be able to — for him, too — put him in those positions. Guys like to get points, and for him to be able to add that for us knowing that we can move guys around on the power play if they’re deserving of the opportunity, and it’s been great to slide Blake in there when we’ve needed him.”
Coleman’s goal was the Lightning’s second power-play goal in 10 chances with the man advantage over the three games prior to Thursday.