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The Lightning will hope some youth will help out on the blue line tonight when they face off against the Carolina Hurricanes at the St. Pete Times Forum. With Paul Ranger (upper body), Lukas Krajicek (upper body) and Jamie Heward (concussion) all out with injuries, Tampa Bay has been forced to call up Matt Smaby, Vladmir Mihalik and now Ty Wishart who flew in last night from Worcester following Heward’s injury on Thursday. It was quite the day for Wishart, who began the day in Worcester where the Admirals were playing last night, rode a bus for a little more than an hour to Boston to catch his flight and landed in Tampa yesterday evening.
On top of all that, the 20-year-old will make his NHL debut tonight. “He’s been playing well the last three or four games,” Rick Tocchet said. “Being at home will really help a guy like Ty.”
With the influx of youth Tocchet said the Lightning can’t change their plan, “you can’t change your system,” he said. “We want them to play the same way.” Smaby has played well during his most recent recall and Mihalik played a solid 13:22 in Washington on Thursday so we’ll see how the youth movement progresses. I know Tampa Bay had talked about bringing up some youth here and there for evaluation purposes, but these injuries have forced them to do it all at once.
Mike Smith will get the start in net tonight as Tocchet said he wanted to give Smitty a chance to bounce back from Thursday’s loss. Tocchet didn’t rule out giving Karri Ramo the start tomorrow in Atlanta, saying that he will evaluate the situation after tonight’s game. “I want to get Ram’s into a game,” he said.