BACK TO WORK
Following an exciting 6-3 win over the in-state rival Florida Panthers on Saturday, the Tampa Bay Lightning took Sunday off to rest, but returned to the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Monday for on-ice practice.
Of the players currently on the injury list, Marc-Andre Bergeron skated with the team, as did Adam Hall, who wore the yellow practice jersey.
Ryan Malone also skated, but by himself, while Nate Thompson came off the ice early for body maintenance.
Lightning head coach Guy Boucher stated Monday that Dwayne Roloson will get the start in net on Tuesday against the Kings.
Roloson, who posts a 7-10-2 record this season with a .882 save percentage and a 3.65 goals-against average, last started on Jan. 21 in a 4-3 win at Phoenix.
In other matters regarding Tuesday’s lineup, Boucher said both Adam Hall and Marc-Andre Bergeron have been cleared to play, but that he was still unsure as to who would actually be in the lineup.
“I don’t know yet,” Boucher said. “If one of them goes in, that means a guy is coming out who has played well. I always try to be fair, so I’ll have to make that decision.”
Guy Boucher had a humorous, but interesting take on Martin St. Louis’ hat trick on Saturday that was the Lightning forward’s fifth of his career, but only his first since October of 2006.
When asked if he was surprised that St. Louis, at 36 years old, was still performing at such a high level this late in the season, Boucher responded with:
“No, not really. For us, this is crunch time and we know that he’s Mr. Crunchtime. So, he keeps on crunching.”
After the brief moment of laughter subsided, Boucher took a more serious tone to praise St. Louis for his hard work, determination and dedication to the game that is responsible for him achieving great success throughout the years.
“It’s impressive, but not just now. It’s always been impressive for me,” Boucher said of what he sees out of St. Louis. “So whether he’s 36, 25, or 40 [years old] and is still able to be consistent in what he does best, to me that’s outstanding.”
Rookie forward Brett Connolly was back in the lineup for Saturday's 6-3 win over the Panthers after he was a healthy scratch this past Thursday against the Jets.
Connolly logged 7:10 of ice time without a shot, but did block a shot, and on the same shift, helped deny an opposing scoring chance with a strong backcheck.
Head coach Guy Boucher, who noted that Connolly's problems have been defensive, likened the player’s struggles to those of teammate Steven Stamkos and Boston Bruins forward Tyler Seguin, both of whom were high first-round draft choices and who thrived after being benched as rookies.
On Monday, however, he was impressed with how Connolly responded.
“Yeah, I thought he did very well,” Boucher said. “It was good for him.”
Lightning head coach Guy Boucher just can’t seem to get enough of Victor Hedman lately.
Boucher, who has used a variety of adjectives to describe how good the Lightning defenseman has been since returning from injury on Jan. 31, took it one step further following Saturday night’s 6-3 win over the in-state rival Panthers, a game in which the big Swede recorded an assist, five shots on goals, five blocked shots, three hits and a plus-two rating.
“I was going to call him a machine, but I like the word monster better,” Boucher said. “He had a monster game, blocking shots, hitting guys, first on puck, separating players from the puck and taking the puck and skating up with it, getting all kinds of scoring opportunities. He’s turning into a monster, absolutely, and I love it.”
Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier registered his 20th goal of the season during Saturday’s victory against Florida, marking the 12th consecutive season in which he has reached the 20-goal plateau, which is something that was never accomplished by several NHL greats including Mario Lemieux or current Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman.
In fact, no other active player in addition to Lecavalier has a longer streak, although Chicago’s Marian Hossa and Calgary’s Jarome Iginla each have also reached the milestone in 12 consecutive seasons including the current one.
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