The Tampa Bay Lightning held their morning skate today at the Tampa Bay Times Forum to get things loosened up prior to tonight’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Here’s a few of the goings-on from the session:
LINEUPS, INJURIES AND ILLNESSES
Ben Bishop will get his fifth consecutive start in net tonight for the Lightning.
Bishop, since joining the club, is 2-2-0 with a 2.02 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage.
Victor Hedman will not play tonight, but he did skate this morning with the team while not wearing the red jersey, which of course was a good sign.
Hedman, who said that his progress this morning was a “step in the right direction,” could be back in the lineup perhaps as soon as this weekend.
“I want to play,” Hedman said. “But if I’m not 100 percent, I’ll do more harm than good for the team on the ice.”
Hedman skated hard this morning at full speed and said he felt good, while also sounding hopeful and optimistic about an imminent return, but said he would continue to monitor his progress, especially at practice tomorrow, which should provide a good indication of whether or not he’ll be back in time for the first half of the team’s four-game road trip.
Head coach Jon Cooper discussed his decision to scratch Benoit Pouliot from tonight's line-up in favor of younger players following Thursday's morning skate.
With Hedman still out, Jon Cooper said he would go with the same lineup as last game, meaning Benoit Pouliot, Tom Pyatt and Dana Tyrell are scratched again tonight.
When asked about the decision to not play those specific guys, Cooper said it had little to do with their on-ice performance, but rather more to do with what he referred to as a tough situation.
“I wouldn’t read too much into that about those guys,” Cooper said. “We’re just caught between trying to win, but also trying to see what we have, what guys can handle and what guys can play next year. We’re just looking at different guys in different roles and we don’t think our team is losing that much of a step with some of the younger guys and the situations they’re in. With Pouliot, Pyatt and Tyrell, have they seen the last game they’re going to play with us this season? Absolutely not.”
NOTES AND NUMBERS
-Steven Stamkos ranks tied for first among all NHL skaters with 26 goals this season and is second with 50 points, six behind Crosby for the league lead
-Alex Killorn has recorded points in four of his past six contests, including two third period game-tying goals. He ranks eighth in rookie scoring in goals (seven) and tied for ninth in points (17).
-Martin St. Louis has recorded six points over his past four games (one goal, five assists) and ranks second in the NHL with 40 assists. He is one of two players (Chris Kunitz) in the NHL this season to not have consecutive point-less games.
-The Lightning will be looking to snap a five-game losing streak against the Penguins tonight, as the Bolts' last victory against Pittsburgh came on November 17, 2011 in Tampa Bay.
-The Bolts will be looking to keep their home points streak alive, going 5-0-1 over their past six contests at the Times Forum
-The Lightning and Penguins' rosters combine a total of six players that were selected either first or second overall in the NHL Entry Draft (Stamkos, Hedman, Lecavalier, Crosby, Malkin and Fleury).