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Lightning coach Cooper likes how their ‘Kid Line’ is growing up

Ondrej Palat, Richard Panik, Tyler Johnson

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (74), of the Czech Republic, center, celebrates with teammates right wing Richard Panik (71), of Slovakia, left, and center Tyler Johnson, right, after scoring against the Nashville Predators during the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)


The Tampa Bay Lightning have been one of the league’s surprise teams. While they’re without Steven Stamkos for the time being, they’ve done well in part thanks to their “Kid Line” of former AHL teammates Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Richard Panik.

Coach Jon Cooper tells Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times he’s happy with how they’ve grown so far this season.

“You know what you’re getting from them every night,” Cooper said. ‘They’re a bit more sure of themselves and their abilities. Early on, it’s human nature, you’re nervous, you’re uptight, you don’t want to make mistakes. Now … they play the game to make plays.”

Cooper has given the line opportunities to show what they’ve got. On Friday night against Pittsburgh, they got to grow up a bit matching up against Sidney Crosby’s line.

This season, scoring-wise, they’ve combined for 30 points with Johnson leading the way with 13. For a line that was starting in the AHL last season, they’re adapting well in the big leagues.

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