February 1, 2012
ON AND OFF
Following Tuesday night’s 4-3 overtime win against the Washington Capitals, the Lightning returned to the rink Wednesday afternoon to hold a brief practice and media availability session at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
On the ice was injured defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron, who was wearing the red no-contact jersey. Bergeron said he feels ready to play, but Lightning head coach Guy Boucher told reporters Wednesday that the Bolts blue-liner will not be in the lineup on Thursday against Winnipeg.
“He was better today, but is not going to go tomorrow,” Boucher said.
Bergeron is still recovering from an upper-body injury and has been out of the lineup since Jan. 13. Ryan Malone, meanwhile, did not skate on Wednesday and also will not play Thursday night against the Jets.
LINING 'EM UP
In preparation for Thursday’s game against the Jets, head coach Guy Boucher said Mathieu Garon will get the start in net.
As far as the status of Dwayne Roloson goes, Boucher added: “He’s chomping at the bit and he wants more. He’s a competitor and he wants to go two games in a row, three games in a row and help the team, but I think right now, Garon has been really solid consistently.”
The Bolts head coach also said Pierre-Cedric Labrie, recalled from Norfolk of the AHL on Tuesday, will play on Thursday, but said he wasn’t sure as to who would come out of the lineup.
Boucher also added he would either go with seven defensemen and 11 forwards, including Labrie, for a second consecutive game, or with six defensemen and 12 forwards.
Guy Boucher said Wednesday he was impressed with the play of Victor Hedman, who appeared in his first game back on Tuesday after missing 13 games with a concussion.
Prior to the game, Boucher said he hadn’t necessarily planned to use Hedman against the top lines or have him log major minutes, but as a result of his solid defensive play against Washington, all of that changed.
“First of all, we gave him the amount of ice time we did because we saw that right away, he was looking pretty good,” Boucher said. “He was better than I thought he was going to be. That was definitely something we missed when we didn’t have him, and when you don’t have him, that’s when you recognize how important he is to your team.”
SCOUTING THE JETS
There wasn’t too much attention given to all the success that the Lightning have enjoyed recently against Thursday’s opponent in the Winnipeg Jets.
Tampa Bay has won 12 of the past 13 meetings against the Winnipeg/Atlanta franchise dating back to the beginning of the 2009-10 season and comes into Thursday’s game with a seven-game home win streak versus the Jets/Thrashers, which is the team’s longest active against any NHL opponent.
Still, head coach Guy Boucher wasn’t impressed. “They’re a good team who is going to be hard to beat,” he said. “They play very physical, they enter the zone well, they drive, they have a shooting mentality, they have defensemen who can hurt you offensively and they have a goaltender who can stone you. So, tomorrow I expect a real low-scoring game between two teams who are on equal grounds.”
Lightning head coach Guy Boucher chuckled at his uncertainty regarding how to react to the news of Steven Stamkos winning the shootout contest at the 2012 NHL All-Star Skills Competition in Ottawa this past weekend.
Stamkos, who is 0-for-10 in shootouts during Boucher’s tenure, and who is just 4-for-24 in his career, made all three attempts in consecutive order to outlast the field and be crowned champion of that specific event at Scotiabank Place as part of the All-Star festivities.
“I don't know what to think,” Boucher said. “He hasn't scored one for us this season yet and then he goes out there and wins the shootout contest. He hasn't scored last year, too. I guess he's putting pressure on me to put him out there, but like I said, he hasn't scored a shootout goal for me in two seasons, so I guess I'm the problem.”
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