The Lightning held a quick practice at the St. Pete Times Forum yesterday before jumping on a plane and heading to Long Island. The snow has stopped falling but there is still plenty on the ground. Luckily, the Bolts will be back in Tampa by the time it starts snowing again early in the week.
Upon arrival at the hotel it became obvious that there was something else going on at the Nassau Coliseum. The lobby was full of man's best friends. That's right, the dog show is in town. I don't know if he is even in the show, but I already gave first place to the pug that rode with me in the elevator yesterday.
As for the game this afternoon, without a morning skate there really isn't much to report. Stay tuned to the Lightning's Twitter page (www.twitter.com/tblightning) for real time updates as the game gets closer. We do know that the only player that did not make the trip is David Hale, who is on injured reserve. That makes Brandon Bochenski the only extra player.
To put it simply, the Lightning need two points on the trip for two main reasons. One, both the Islanders and Rangers are behind the Bolts in the standings and they need to keep it that way. Two, look at what happened after the Lightning's loss to the Bruins on Thursday. With just one loss, the team fell from, what was at one point, sixth place to ninth. With all the teams so closely bunched each point becomes more and more critical.
After the game today at 2 p.m. the Lightning will jump on a bus and head into New York City for tomorrow's afternoon (1 p.m.) match-up with the Rangers.