Here we go Lightning fans, the 2009-10 season comes to the St. Pete Times for the very first time tonight. I don’t think it is fair to judge the team by their 0-1-1 record. They outshot and out-chanced their opponents in each of the first two games, they just didn’t get the result on the scoreboard. Marty St. Louis has been his usual self with two goals and three points in the first two games, Steven Stamkos is also recording a point a game, Alex Tanguay was strong last game and Vinny Lecavalier had three or four great scoring chances.
“That’s the biggest part of it for this team right now is the negativity, “ Head Coach Rick Tocchet said. “You can tell there is some weight on some on the guys’ shoulders and we played a great game in Carolina. There is plenty of hockey left and if we continue to get that effort we’ll be fine.”
Stephane Veilleux will get the start on the line with Lecavalier and Tanguay. Tocchet likes Veilleux’s energy, ”He’s a fast guy. I thought he played really well in the third period (in Carolina). Everyone freaks out about who’s on that line. We have a couple guys we can put on that line that are energy guys and that is what we’re looking for. Vinny and Tangs have had a ton of chances.”
As I said yesterday, Mike Smith will get his third consecutive start in goal and David Hale will be in the line-up in the place of Kurtis Foster. Foster continued to practice and work out today. There is a chance he could play Saturday. Matt Smaby was sent to Norfolk on a conditioning assignment yesterday and will get the chance to get some solid playing time down there.
Speaking of Veilleux, he has been named No.1 in the Lightning’s Ping Pong Power Rankings. In case you hadn’t heard, the team recently added a table tennis table to the gym at the St. Pete Times Forum. Veilleux is an avid racquet sports fan so he is the logical choice. We’ll have to see how long he can hold his No.1 ranking.