Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Guy Boucher gave his team the day off today, following last night’s 2-1 defeat to the Buffalo Sabres at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Instead, the team earned some extra rest and will travel this afternoon to Newark before making the short trip into New York City to prepare for Thursday night’s game versus the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Here are a few other noteworthy tidbits leading up to the team’s four-game road trip:
The Lightning are currently amidst a stretch that has the team playing six of seven games on the road, with each of the next four beginning Thursday set to be played away from home.
That’s why Tuesday’s lone home game during the swing was so important, as it would have given Tampa Bay perhaps the best opportunity to collect two points and pull back into sole possession of first place in the Southeast Division standings.
But following a 2-1 defeat, the Lightning now head off to New York to play the Rangers, against whom it is 0-2-0 this season. It doesn’t get much easier from there, as the Boston Bruins took the first meeting against the Bolts at the Times Forum last week, the Pittsburgh Penguins handed Tampa Bay a 5-3 loss just several days ago, and the New Jersey Devils scored a victory against the Lightning too earlier this month.
“We play the top teams, so it will be a challenge for us,” Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said. “But it doesn’t matter if we’re playing Boston or Pittsburgh or whoever the opponent is, we have to play them the same way. We play the way we play and continue evolving and progressing.”
According to head coach Guy Boucher, the team lost defenseman Sami Salo to a lower body injury sustained during the second period.
Salo did not return to the game against Buffalo, missing the final period, but the injury is not believed to be anything major.
Following Tuesday’s game, during Boucher’s postgame press conference, the Lightning head coach said he had “no clue” as to how long Salo would be out, but did offer this:
“What I do know is that we missed him for the remainder of the game and we missed him from our lineup,” Boucher added. “He’s on our top pair, so hopefully [the injury] won’t be for long.”
Salo is listed as day-to-day.
Since the beginning of the season, Lightning rookie Cory Conacher has expressed his experience thus far in the NHL as “surreal” and likening it to “a dream.”
But on Tuesday, things hit a little closer to home for Conacher.
Having played at Canisius College, right in Buffalo’s back yard so to speak, Conacher would often attend Sabres games. So, as the team came to Tampa Bay to face off against the team for whom Conacher now plays, it naturally conjured up some memories.
From Conacher’s own personal Twitter account, @conhockey19, he wrote:
“Seems like it was just yesterday I was watching the Sabres live at the HSBC and now it's time to play them. #GoBolts”
Thursday marked the conclusion of the two-week conditioning stint for defenseman Brendan Mikkelson and forward Pierre-Cedric Labrie, both of whom are expected to join the team in New York for the upcoming trip.
FILL THE FORUM
Tuesday’s home game against Buffalo was the team’s 11th straight sellout this season, which is good for the third-longest consecutive sellout streak in team history.
According to the team, the second-longest streak stands at 13 games, which occurred during the 2006-07 season, while the team sold out each of its 41 home games throughout the 2005-06 season.