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Lightning vs. Islanders Pre-Game Notes

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning skated this morning at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in preparation of tonight's 7:30 p.m. contest against the New York Islanders.

Not all players skated, for various reasons.

Here are the key takeaways from this morning's session:


Before we get to all the injury updates, Guy Boucher said Anders Lindback will get the start in goal tonight against the Islanders.

Lindback has earned victories in two of his past three games, including the team's most recent contest, a 3-2 win at Florida on Tuesday night. One of Lindback's two career shutouts also came against the Islanders on December 13, 2010.

And now for the injuries.

News broke Thursday morning at the morning skate that captain Vincent Lecavalier has been placed on Injured Reserve and is out indefinitely after sustaining a lower body injury on Tuesday night against the Panthers.

By nature of being placed on Injured Reserve, Lecavalier will miss a minimum of seven days, although general manager Steve Yzerman said he expects the forward to be out for longer than that.

Yzerman added that Lecavalier will not require surgery, but that his absence in the lineup is still "a big hole."
Tyler Johnson, the American Hockey League's leading goal scorer, will be in the lineup tonight as a result of Lecavalier's injury.

Boucher also said at Thursday's coach's press conference that Tom Pyatt will not play tonight, as he is still listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury. There is also nothing new to report with Benoit Pouliot, who remains on Injured Reserve.

With all of that said, Boucher is electing to go with 12 forwards and six defensemen tonight with four centers, meaning Adam Hall will be back in the lineup. Boucher gave no indication of with whom each will play, in terms of forward lines.


 - The Lightning have won two straight games against New York on home ice and have earned a point in 13 of their past 14 games at the Times Forum (10-1-3).

 - Steven Stamkos is on a five-game point streak against the Islanders dating back to last season, notching five goals and three assists during that span.

- Steven Stamkos also reached the 20-goal mark in just 26 games this season, the second fastest in his NHL career after reaching that same plateau in just 21 games during the 2010-11 season.

- Dating back to last season, the home team has won the last five games between the Isles and Lightning.

- The Islanders saw a season-high, five-game point streak (3-0-2) snapped Sunday in Pittsburgh and have not played a game since.

- Steven Stamkos leads all NHL skaters with 20 goals on the season, while Islanders forward John Tavares is fifth with 16.


Steve Yzerman, on the injury to Vincent Lecavalier:
"It's tough. He plays a lot of minutes, he's a center, he's one of our key faceoff guys and one of our power play guys as well, so it's a big hole in the lineup."

Steven Stamkos, on having Lecavalier out of the lineup:
"He was skating a lot better the last couple games and made some great plays, and now we get the news that he's out for a bit. It's tough, especially this time of the year, but we've been in this situation before so it's time for guys to step up."

Guy Boucher, on what he expects Tyler Johnson to bring to the lineup:
"I know he's a top goal-scorer in the AHL and he's pretty much done it all. He's similar to Conacher, but he's a smaller centerman who we want to keep working on his faceoffs, and he's smart defensively. We know he dominates in the American League, so the question is whether he can do it at this level."

Guy Boucher, on the mentality of Tyler Johnson coming in:
"It's unrealistic to put him in there and say 'go in and replace Lecavalier.' He'll come in and I'll tell him what I tell all the other young guys, which is 'do what you do and play your game, and make mistakes, but makes mistakes of commission, not omission.'"

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