The Lightning took to the ice in Phoenix this morning after a good night's sleep just across from Jobing.com Arena, which is located in Glendale. When the team arrived yesterday, the area was packed with cars which were parked just outside University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals defeated the Seattle Seahawks in a game that started just before he team bus pulled into the area after the team flight. The stadium and the arena are situated right next to one another as the hub of a major development in suburban Glendale.
Head Coach Rick Tocchet told the media today that Mike Smith will be back in the net for the game tonight after a layoff in which the team has seen some great goaltending from Antero Niittymaki. So Smith gets his shot tonight against the Coyotes, who are 11-8-0 so far this season, 6-4-0 at home.
Tocchet also said the Lightning may be without defenseman Mattias Ohlund, who is nursing a lower body injury suffered in Saturday's game against Los Angeles. We will know more at game time. The Bolts are without forward Ryan Craig and defenseman Matt Smaby, both of whom were sent to join the Norfolk Admirals yesterday, Smaby on a conditioning assignment. It does looks like defenseman Matt Walker can play tonight after resting some minor nagging injuries on Saturday.
In a lighter note, forward Stephane Veilleux was the recipient of a shaving cream pie at center ice today, a little birthday present from his teammates and the coaching staff. Veilleux was born 28 years ago today, Nov. 16, 1981.
Tonight's game can be found on AM 620 WDAE for Lightning fans or via the NHL's Center Ice Package. WDAE does have a "listen live" on its website, 620wdae.com. Sun Sports is not televising tonight's game or the game in Anaheim on Thursday, but it will carry the Bolts game Saturday from Carolina.