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(TORONTO, ON) -- Martin St. Louis came into the 2006-07 season with high hopes and high expectations.
Entering the second season of a six-year contract he signed in August 2005, St. Louis knew he had to produce better than the 61-point performance he put together the previous year.

Off to a relatively slow start, where he registered just one goal in Tampa Bay's first six games of the season, rumors that he was on the trade block started to grow.

That soon changed.

Since then, the 31-year-old has notched 29 points in his last 19 games, including a hat-trick on October 26 against the Carolina Hurricanes. He is now among the league leaders in goals (15) and points (30).
So what happened?

"Well, I think last year, after coming off the lockout, obviously having won the Cup the year before, I think I put a little too much pressure on myself, didn't get off to a good start, then I started putting pressure more and more," St. Louis said during a conference call earlier this week. "It ended up backfiring on me. I finished the year strong. I was trying to carry that into the summer, my off-ice workouts, carry that into this year.

"I didn't start strong this year, but I was playing much better than I was at the time last year. I figured, just keep going, it's a matter of time."

A native of Laval, Quebec, St. Louis is playing with confidence and having fun doing it. He attributes being in the right state of mind to his latest success.

"Sometimes you're in those situations where you can put the puck on net and good things happen," he said. "Maybe when you score a few goals, you start to feel good about yourself. You start to feel you want to take it to the net more often. I'm definitely in that frame of mind. When you have success, I think you just try to do it a little more often."

St. Louis is currently on pace for a career-high 49 goals and 98 points. While his performance has been impressive, he knows the Lightning still need to upgrade their overall plan of attack.

The Bolts are just two games above the .500 mark and sit eighth in the Eastern Conference with 27 points.

"We know we're not going to win every game," he said. "I think if you play well away from the puck, we have enough talent on our team when we have the puck, we can make stuff happen.

"I feel good right now. I like our team. I think we're deeper than (last year). I'm confident we'll have a fair amount of success this year if we keep competing the way we can."

The Fourth Period :: Tampa Bay Lightning :: Welcome back, Marty
 
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