TAMPA -- If the St. Louis Blues hope to avoid matching a season-high with three consecutive losses, they’ve likely come to the right place.
The Tampa Bay Lightning, their opponent Saturday night, are reeling toward the season’s finish line, an unrelenting string of injuries compounding their slide.
The latest to join the walking wounded is Nate Thompson, out Saturday with an undisclosed upper-body injury and likely to miss a few games. He joins five other regulars in the training room, a significant figure although at one point during the season Tampa Bay had nine regulars on the injured list.
“Injuries are part of the game, “Lightning coach Guy Boucher said, “but this year, that’s not part of the game. These are circumstances we’ll probably never see again. I’ve never seen it and probably never will again. It’s made for a long season.”
After an 18 save relief appearance against Toronto on Thursday night, Dwayne Roloson will get the call in the Lightning net, his first start since Feb 25 against Pittsburgh.
The season could seem even longer after the contest Saturday is finished, with St. Louis cruising along atop the League standings, three points ahead of the New York Rangers. And as befits a team with such a lofty status, not much is concerning them.
“We’re a high-wire act,” St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We’re a junior hockey team or a college team that happens to play professional hockey, that’s what it is. That’s the best way to describe it. We have fun, it’s loose. There is enough time for pressure once the game starts but we try to keep it as loose and active as we can until the game is ready to be played and then we dial it up. For an old guy like me it’s a little bit of chaos that I’m not used to but every day I come here I keep thinking that this is junior hockey again. That’s the way we deal with things; we do a lot of things that are silly and humorous, whether it’s the video or the meetings, we try to lighten the load.”
David Perron - David Backes - T.J. Oshie
Chris Porter - Vladimir Sobotka - Chris Stewart
Patrik Berglund - Jamie Langenbruner - Jaden Schwartz
Scott Nichol - Ryan Reaves - B.J. Crombeen
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Alex Pietrangelo - Carlo Colaiacovo
Ian Cole - Roman Polak
Martin St. Louis - Steven Stamkos - Teddy Purcell
Ryan Malone - Adam Hall - Ryan Shannon
Tim Wallace - Tom Pyatt - JT Wyman
Brandon Segal - Brett Connolly
Eric Brewer - Victor Hedman
Brett Clark - Mike Commodore
Brendan Mikkelson - Brian Lee