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On the Way to Ottawa

by Lightning Insider / Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning had an earlier than usual 10 a.m. practice at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum today before a 1 p.m. flight.  Everyone was on the ice and looked ready to go against Ottawa tomorrow night.  The Lightning went 0-1-1 in Ottawa last season and will be playing for their first win at Scotiabank Place since January of 2008.  Both teams have had some success already this season and will be looking to continue it.

Rick Tocchet said this morning that Mike Smith will get the start in goal tomorrow despite Antero Niittymaki playing well in the previous two games.  Tocchet said this morning that Smith is the No. 1 guy, but there is “nothing wrong with competition”.  Judging by Niittymaki’s play in the previous two games he should push Smith to be better.  “We’ve got two healthy goalies,” Tocchet said.  “Let’s keep it that way.”

On the blue line, Kurtis Foster will get back on the ice for the first time since being injured in the season opener in Atlanta.  Lukas Krajicek will be the odd man out, though Tocchet said it was because of nothing the defenseman did.  With Foster coming back it gives the coach another option on the point on the power play but he said he plans on sticking with Victor Hedman on the point of the top unit.    

Much has been made lately about that fact that Vincent Lecavalier and Alex Tanguay haven’t found the back of the net.  Tocchet keeps down playing it, saying that the important thing is that they are playing the game the right way and playing the system.  “Its just a matter of one or two going in,” Tocchet said.  Hopefully that domino effect will start tomorrow tonight.

A BIG assist must go out to Director of Team Services Ryan Belec and Manager of Hockey Administration Liz Sylvia.  Before boarding the plane to Ottawa one of the Lightning players, who shall go unnamed, realized he had forgot his passport.  It’s an honest mistake, but Belec and Sylvia immediately jumped into action, calling everyone in their phonebooks in order to clear the player so he would not have to fly separate from the team.  How’s that for service??? Upon arriving in Ottawa the Lightning were greeted with some snow flurries. It was the first time the team has seen snow this season.

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