It is amazing what a good win like the one the Lightning had in Boston on Thursday will do for a team on multiple fronts. For starters, it brought them to within six points of the eighth playoff spot when it seemed like they were all but eliminated. Now they are seemingly within striking distance. Secondly, the win has reinvigorated the team. The players seem to have a new pep in their step as they prepare for the second game of this road trip against the Buffalo Sabres tonight.
There are a bunch of items to report after the victory in Boston. Coming out of the game Steve Downie, David Hale and Kurtis Foster were all injured. Entering tonight Hale and Foster are out while Downie skated at morning skate and Rick Tocchet said he will take warm ups tonight to see how he feels. With the way "Diggitty" has played this season the Bolts could really use him down the home stretch. I think the best news is that even if he misses tonight, he will not miss any extended time.
With Hale and Foster out the Lightning recalled Vladimir Mihalik from Norfolk. He has had a great year down there and leads all Admirals defensemen in plus/minus with a plus-8. He is a career plus-13 in three seasons with Norfolk. That is pretty impressive considering they have been in last, or close to it, in two of the previous three seasons. Assistant Coach Jim Johnson, who was the head man in Norfolk at one point this season, said Mihalik came into this season with the right outlook and worked hard on conditioning. He also benefited from playing with Mike Lundin at the beginning of the season so maybe we'll see those to reunited again tonight.
Antero Niittymaki gets the call in goal for the Lightning who will fly to Columbus after the game. They will be in Columbus for three days.