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The Lightning will kick off a very important six-game home stand tonight against the New York Islanders. The teams met four days ago in snowy New York with the Islanders skating away with a 3-1 victory. The teams should be familiar with each other so it will be interesting how the teams adjust. Rick Tocchet said this morning that Tampa Bay’s second period in Tuesday’s game was one of worst of the season. At least the third has been good to the Lightning against New York this season, with them scoring all four goals against the Isles in the final period to a tune of 4-1 overall.
Mike McKenna will make his first start at the St. Pete Times Forum tonight after making 31 saves in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. All reports have been good on McKenna. Tocchet said this morning that “he’s a pretty calm goalie. He did a good job for us. I don’t think he was overwhelmed at all.” In related news, Mike Smith was absent from practice today and will remain day-to-day with an upper body injury. Tocchet did tell the media this morning that Smith has been dealing with this for about six weeks or so.
Ryan Craig and Matt Pettinger will get back in the line-up tonight after being healthy scratches on Wednesday. Adam Hall
will sit out for the Lightning while Andrej Meszaros will miss the game with an upper body injury suffered against Pittsburgh. He has gone 298 games in his career without missing a game so I’m sure it is frustrating for him. As a guy that didn’t miss a game after being struck in the face with a puck and receiving 64 stitches, you know it has to be something he can not play with. With Meszaros out David Koci will return to the blue line.
Happy Gasparilla everyone. If you need traffic flow help getting to the game tonight be sure to check the map of road closures by clicking here