Following a closely-contested 4 -3 defeat to the Pittsburgh Penguins last night, the Tampa Bay Lightning departed for New Jersey to prepare for tonight’s 7 p.m. puck drop at the Prudential Center against the Devils.
Not much has changed in terms of the lineup or personnel from yesterday in the Steel City, but here are few notes leading up to the game:
LINEUPS, INJURIES AND ILLNESSES
Guy Boucher will go with the same lineup as last night in Pittsburgh, with the only change coming in goal, as Anders Lindback will man the pipes tonight after Mathieu Garon exited early against the Penguins with a non-disclosed injury.
Garon appeared to have tweaked something as he slid across the crease to deny a shot from Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin, but the injury is not believed to be too serious or keep him out very long.
The team also recalled goaltender Cedric Desjardins from the American Hockey League to serve as backup to Lindback in Garon’s absence.
Only a few players skated this morning at the morning skate, while the rest remained at the hotel to attend meetings.
Ryan Malone is still out and will not play, and of course, Benoit Pouliot is still injured and will be out tonight.
Guy Boucher stressed the need to improve 50/50 play as the team looks to halt their current skid.
Pouliot, in fact, has been placed on Injured Reserve, retroactive to March 2.
NOTES AND NUMBERS
-Both teams are looking to snap five-game losing skids tonight
-Two of the Lightning's six hat tricks last season came against the Devils (St. Louis on Feb. 26, 2012 and Malone on Mar. 29, 2012
-After tonight's contest, the Lightning will play five of their next six games in Tampa Bay where they own a home record of 6-4-1
-Steven Stamkos was named the NHL's Player of the Month for February, posting 10 goals and 10 assists during the month
-Teddy Purcell comes into today's game with 17 assists, ranking tied for sixth in the NHL
-Head coach Guy Boucher is seven wins shy of 100 in his career
THEY SAID IT
Guy Boucher, on what the Lightning need to do to get over the hump:
“It’s the same things as we’ve been doing lately. Stop the 50/50 play. It’s these one-time, isolated moments in which we sabotage ourselves. It’s a habit we need to break and it hurts right now, and the players know that, so we’re going to change it.”
Guy Boucher, on battling through adversity:
“Successful people always go through tough moments. The ones who aren’t successful are the ones who quit and get discouraged. The successful ones takes these moments as fuel to get better and eventually do great things. Then you look back and say ‘wow, they fought through adversity.’ They’re different from the ones who fail and point fingers.”