March 9, 2012
Following the Lightning’s 3-2 overtime loss to the division-rival Capitals at the Verizon Center on Thursday night, the team had the day off on Friday and decided not to hold practice. The Bolts will return to home ice on Saturday for the team’s morning skate at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in preparation for Saturday night’s contest against the Carolina Hurricanes.
HIT TO THE HEAD
There was no penalty immediately handed out to Capitals defenseman Mike Green, who delivered a blatant elbow to the head of Lightning rookie forward Brett Connolly during Thursday’s matchup at the Verizon Center.
Connolly was pinned against the end boards by Washington blueliner Dmitry Orlov while battling for a puck when Green came over and delivered the hit. Connolly laid down on the ground for a few moments before rising to his feet on his own initiative.
“The head targeted was clear,” Lightning Head Coach Guy Boucher said following the game.
But no penalty was called, although Green is likely to hear from league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan regarding the incident.
Connolly, however, had a different take.
“I don’t know what happened,” Connolly told The Tampa Bay Times. “His elbows were up, but I’m not going to point any fingers. It’s a hockey play and it happens. No hard feelings.”
Marc-Andre Bergeron’s surgery, which took place on Thursday in New York to repair a bulging disc in his back that was causing irritation to his sciatic nerve, was deemed successful, although any chance of a return for the remainder of the season seems improbable.
Defenseman Bruno Gervais also missed his second straight game on Thursday with an upper body injury and is not expected back soon, according to Head Coach Guy Boucher.
FUNDS FOR FLEMING
Leading up to last weekend’s Gasparilla Distance Classic race, Lightning assistant coach Dan Lacroix, with the assistance of the team’s video coach, Nigel Kirwan, encouraged Lightning players to donate contributions in honor of assistant coach Wayne Fleming, who is currently battling brain cancer at his home in Calgary, Alberta.
Fleming, despite still receiving chemotherapy treatments and radiation therapy, continues to offer assistance via text messages to the rest of the coaching staff, including scouting reports on opposing teams and players.
Young 22-year-old goaltender Dustin Tokarski, who made his first career NHL start on Thursday night in Washington while filling in for the injured Mathieu Garon, suffered from cramps as a result of dehydration that began approximately five minutes into the third period and carried over through the remainder of the game.
Tokarski told reporters from both The Tampa Bay Times and The Tampa Tribune following the game that he experienced pain in his knees, quadriceps, calves, elbows, and even at one point, said he had no ability to move his hands.
In order to combat the discomfort, Tokarski received two doses of intravenous sodium chloride solution.
He finished the night by making 29 saves in what was a solid performance in net.
The torrid scoring pace of both Steven Stamkos and Teddy Purcell continued on Thursday night against the Capitals, as Stamkos assisted on Ryan Malone’s power-play goal in the second period, while Purcell led all skaters on the team with a goal and two points.
Stamkos now has points in six straight games with five goals and nine points in that span, while Purcell is riding a career-high 11-game point streak with seven goals and 22 points over that stretch.
With four overtime goals this season, Stamkos also matches the NHL single-season record, an honor currently shared by 10 other players dating back to the 1929-30 season.