The Lightning got back to business today at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto with a team meeting and ensuing optional morning skate. The Bolts checked into the team hotel around 11:30 p.m. last night; the 5 p.m. start in Philadelphia allowing them to get in a little earlier than usual. That's about the only positive from yesterday's game against the Flyers, though, as the 6-2 loss sparked a 15-minute players only post-game meeting. Everyone was quite quiet about what was said behind closed doors, but I'm sure the team was trying to figure out how they can get things on track on the road.
As for tonight, the Lightning will come to a building they have had a good deal of success in recently in search of their first road win of the season. Oddly enough, the Maple Leafs are in search for their first home win of the season, so something will give tonight.
Antero Niittymaki will get the start in goal but the rest of the Lightning line-up is staying the same as Monday. That means Lukas Krajicek will be on the ice again while Kurtis Foster and Matt Smaby will be up in the press box. Niittymaki made 12 saves on 13 shots in a relief role yesterday after stopping 37 or 38 on Saturday and he will be looking to continue his outstanding play.
There are a number of sub-plots to tonight's game. Steven Stamkos returns to his hometown as one of the NHL's top scorers in the 2009-10 season with his 11 goals. It is not just his family and friends that will have their eyes on him tonight as Steve Yzerman, Hockey Canada's top man when it comes to picking the Olympic team, will be in attendance scouting a number of players, including the second-year phenom. As Stamkos said this morning it is an honor just to be considered for Team Canada.
Victor Hedman will be facing fellow Swede Jonas Gustavsson for the first time in the NHL. Both are in their first seasons in the league, but the two played against each other for a few seasons in Sweden.
James Wright had a little bit of a surprise this morning at the skate when his parents were in the stands. They came all the way from Saskatoon for the game and gained access to the morning skate through a friend of a friend in the Leafs' broadcast crew.
After the game tonight the Lightning will stay in Toronto and fly to Ottawa tomorrow for a recovery day before taking on the Senators Thursday night.
Remember tonight's game is not on Sun Sports due to VERSUS exclusivity so the only way to see the game is via the Center Ice Package. The Lightning are hosting multiple watch-parties at local Beef O' Bradys restaurants so head out to Beef's and join the fun.
For more information, check out this link: Lightning To Host Watch Parties November 3.