As the Lightning arrived at the Honda Center this morning, it did so knowing it would be playing in front of goaltender Mike Smith for the second straight game. Smith played well in the 4-1 win over Phoenix on Monday and he has great lifetime numbers against the Ducks, with a goals against average under 1.00. Coach Rick Tocchet decided to start him for the second straight game, acknowledging he has earned the opportunity.
A key for the Lightning this evening will be getting balanced scoring from its top two lines. In Monday’s win, the goals came from Vincent Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis and Alex Tanguay. Tocchet would like to see that threesome continue to score and also see continued production from Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone. If the Bolts can get output from all five players, it could quickly become one of the most feared teams in the NHL.
For those looking for an injury update, defensman Mattias Ohlund did not skate this morning and it appears he will not play tonight. Trainer Tom Mulligan cautioned that with the type of injury Mattias has, he wants to see him fully heeled before he steps on the ice and risks re-injury and a more sustained period of time off the ice. So caution is the key here with Mattias. He continues to be listed as day-to-day.
The Lightning had some special visitors at practice today, CW 44 contest winners Emily Fedeles and Edwards Muniz. Both are in Anaheim for tonight’s game from Tampa after winning a meet Charlie Sheen contest conducted by CW 44, who happens to run the syndicated reruns of the comedy Two and A Half Men. The show is executive produced by Lightning owner Oren Koules and his partners.
So as part of the contest, Emily and Edwards not only get to meet Charlie at a taping in Los Angeles tomorrow, they got to meet the Lightning team today after the morning skate. Quite a treat and well worth the trip from Tampa to California. CW 44, of course, is the Lightning’s over the air television broadcast partner, producing six games this season for Lightning fans.
Game time tonight is at 10pm eastern and the Bolts can be found on am 620 wdae on your radio dial or 620wdae.com if you’d like to listen in on your computer. The game is not being televised into Tampa, but the Ducks are broadcasting so NHL Center Ice subscribers will be able to pick up the game. Saturday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes can be found on Sun Sports.