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The Lightning take their show to Raleigh tonight for a big divisional game against the Hurricanes, who haven’t been a friendly opponent this season. The team flew in during a tornado warning yesterday and after a bumpy landing, made its way to a new hotel in the North Hills area. Nothing against the Embassy Suites in Cary – the old Lightning hotel in Raleigh – but this place is beautiful. It’s located in the middle of an upscale outdoor mall, similar to our setup in Arizona, with tons of dining options.
With Karri Ramo suspended by the AHL for six games, the team brought in Riku Helenius
to back up Mike Smith. As Helenius walked into the arena for the morning skate today, he had none other than veteran Mark Recchi helping him carry his bags from the bus. Not a bad way to arrive for your first morning skate.
There are a couple of lineup changes for tonight. Steven Stamkos
sits out and Adam Hall
returns at forward, and David Koci will sit out because defenseman Matt Smaby has been cleared to return. When’s the last time we actually dressed six NHL defensemen?
Coach Rick Tocchet had a lot of praise for defensemen Andrej Meszaros and Lukas Krajicek, who have been playing a ton of minutes (along with Steve Eminger) during the injury crisis. Tocchet said the coaching staff has developed a lot more confidence in Krajicek based on his recent play, and they’re not afraid to throw him out in any situation.