On the morning of the final game of the 2012-13 regular season, the Tampa Bay Lightning skated at the Tampa Bay Times Forum to ready themselves for tonight’s matchup against the in-state rival Florida Panthers.
Despite being out of the playoffs, several members of the Bolts stressed the importance of playing for the fans, getting better for next season, and of course, helping either Martin St. Louis or Steven Stamkos capture the league scoring title for points.
Here are some notes and quotes from this morning’s session leading up to tonight’s game:
LINEUPS, INJURIES AND ILLNESSES
Anders Lindback will get the start in goal tonight for the Lightning’s season finale.
After Ben Bishop had carried the majority of the workload since his acquisition, and with Lindback missing time due to injury, head coach Jon Cooper said it is important for Lindback to play and get some game action in prior to having four months off over the summer.
“Bishop I’ve gotten to see a lot of this year, and Lindy I haven’t,” Cooper said. “I think it’s only fair to Lindy, myself, and the organization that he gets to play a little bit more and we get to look at him.”
Cooper also added that Ryan Malone will be back in the lineup tonight after missing each of the past two games due to illness.
NOTES AND NUMBERS
-The Bolts are 3-0-1 against Florida this season and have picked up seven of a possible eight points
-Two of the four meetings have been decided in extra time, with the Lightning winning in overtime on February 16 and the Panthers winning in a shootout on April 2
-Tampa Bay owns a record of 6-2-1 over their past nine games at the Tampa Bay Times Forum
-Vincent Lecavalier is currently on a four-game point streak against Florida dating back to last season (three goals, six assists)
-Martin St. Louis currently ranks first in the NHL in assists with 42 and is also the league leader in points with 58. If St. Louis finishes the regular season with the most points in the NHL, he'll become the oldest player to ever win the Art Ross Trophy at 37 years old
THEY SAID IT
Anders Lindback, on what he expects in the final game tonight and next season:
“I’m looking to improve my game and get better. I feel like I’ve been back to my game in the last 10 games, so I want to build on that and look forward to working hard with my trainer this summer and coming back here stronger next year.”
Jon Cooper, on what he expects to see from defenseman Mathieu Roy:
“He plays physical, he’s not afraid to get his nose dirty and he can play in all situations, so he’s a team oriented guy and hopefully we’ll see that tonight.”