The Tampa Bay Lightning arrived fresh at the rink on Tuesday morning to hold its traditional morning skate leading up to tonight’s 7:30 p.m. puck drop against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Here are a few notes, stats and other bits of information leading up to the contest:
LINEUPS AND INJURIES
As Lightning head coach Guy Boucher stated yesterday, Anders Lindback will be in net again tonight to face the Maple Leafs, for what will be Lindback’s first career start against Toronto.
In his pre-game press conference today, Lightning head coach Guy Boucher discusses how Steven Stamkos battles through adversity, serves as a leader for the team.
Boucher also said he was impressed with the play of Marc-Andre Bergeron on Saturday against Florida, so much so that Bergeron will also play tonight.
Bergeron has played only four games this season, instead serving as a healthy scratch throughout the majority of the young season, but despite the absence of playing time, has done a good job in jumping in when he is called upon and fulfilling his role.
“He did very well,” Boucher said of Bergeron’s performance on Saturday. “He managed the puck well and he ended up getting the game-winning assist in the overtime, so he’s in the lineup today.”
Boucher added that he also still undecided whether he would go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen or 12 forwards and six defensemen, but that he would decide after warmups.
Captain Vincent Lecavalier did not skate Tuesday morning due to body maintenance.
A TOUGH TEST
Toronto enters tonight as one of the league’s hottest teams, with wins in six of its past seven games, including two shutouts.
Add, too, that the Lightning did not have much success against Toronto last season, posting a record of 0-3-1, and it seems as if tonight’s game manifests itself as a difficult challenge for a Bolts team to conquer.
With that said, should the Lightning win, it could just be the boost of confidence needed to continue on what would then be two consecutive wins, and perhaps additional building blocks to regaining some of the same form the team showed early on in the season.
“They’ve been red hot, but coming off a big win against Florida, it’s important for us to slow them down and make it a tough night for them,” defenseman Victor Hedman said. “It’ll be a good indication of how we respond to that big win on Saturday.”
NOTES AND NUMBERS
-After opening the season with a perfect 5-0-0 home record, the Bolts have dropped their past three games at the Times Forum (0-2-1) and look to end a three-game slide on home ice
-The Maple Leafs enter tonight's game with a road record of 7-2-0 and have shutout their last two opponents
-Tampa Bay's power play has scored a power play goal in seven of their eight home games this season, owning a league-best 38.2 percent success rate on home ice while on the man-advantage
-Cory Conacher leads all NHL rookies in scoring with 13 points (five goals, eight assists) and game-winning goals with two
-The Lightning have scored eight goals over their past two games and rank first in the NHL with 55 goals this season
QUOTES TO NOTE
Guy Boucher, on the message to his team:
“Do the little things well, rather than trying to do extraordinary things. We want to do the ordinary things well. That’s what makes good teams. You do too much, and that will throw you into a direction that you have trouble managing.”
Benoit Pouliot, on his hot play recently:
“I’ve been more consistent and have been better knowing the details, the system and the plan we have in place. Of course playing with Marty and Vinny last game helped too.”
Benoit Pouliot, on the team’s collective mindset:
“We’re feeling good. Everyone is battling, we’re working hard and it’s just a matter of us putting pucks in the net.”
Victor Hedman, on his outlook on facing a hot Maple Leafs team:
“They’re a very good team with a lot of good players who have been playing well lately, so we need to make sure we play our game right. They played last night, so we have to take advantage of that and play hard for a full 60 minutes.”