The Tampa Bay Lightning skated Wednesday morning at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, just one day after earning its second consecutive victory following a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Here are the key takeaways from Wednesday’s practice:
Lightning head coach Guy Boucher was thoroughly impressed with Tuesday’s win over Toronto, however even that was not enough to ease the coach’s decision to go with the same lineup for a second straight game.
Boucher went with seven defensemen and 11 forwards against the Maple Leafs, sitting Adam Hall, a decision that Boucher called “extremely difficult.”
It wasn’t anything against Hall, but as Boucher said, “I wanted to see some of our young guys.”
“He’s excellent in the faceoff circle, he’s relentless on the puck, but it was a very tough call,” Boucher added.
Boucher also wasn’t sure, at least as of Wednesday afternoon, who would start in net against the Bruins, as he said he still needed to meet with his coaching staff.
SO NICE THEY DID IT TWICE
The Lightning have won two consecutive games since snapping a six-game winless streak this past Saturday at Florida, and while head coach Guy Boucher likes the fact that the team is winning, he is even more pleased with how they are winning.
Lightning head coach Guy Boucher assesses the Bruin's strengths entering Thursday night's match up.
The underlying stat coming out of Tuesday’s 4-2 victory against Toronto was the lack of scoring chances the Maple Leafs had throughout the game, and specifically in the second period, when it didn’t have any, according to Boucher’s own unofficial count.
The display was more of what Boucher would like to see, a defense-first mentality that shuts down opponents, wears them out, all the while by offering them very little.
“I'm looking at scoring chances against, and we gave them nothing in the second period,” Boucher said. “That's what I'm looking at. The rest I could care less.”
Lightning defenseman Keith Aulie faced his former club on Tuesday night when the Bolts played the Maple Leafs.
Aulie appeared in 57 games with the Maple Leafs over the course of two seasons prior to being acquired by the Lightning in February of last year.
In 2011-12, Aulie played in 19 games for the Bolts before being reassigned to Norfolk of the American Hockey League to aid the Admirals in their successful Calder Cup championship run, which culminated in the defeat of the Toronto Marlies, another one of Aulie’s former teams.
So just how was it going up against a few of his former teammates on Tuesday night?
“I actually got to see a lot of them and talk with them before the game during the morning skate, but once we got on the ice, it was a little weird,” Aulie said. “As the game goes on you just have to put that behind you, remember what side you’re on and play hockey.”
Aulie logged 10:01 of ice time in the contest and recorded one shot on goal as well as a blocked shot, and even dropped the gloves late in the third period with Toronto’s Mark Fraser.
“It felt pretty good to get the win against those guys,” he added.