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The Lightning didn't have much time to dwell on the last night's shootout loss to the Devils at the Times Forum as they hopped right on a plane to Raleigh for tonight's contest against the Hurricanes. Rick Tocchet did say that the team responded well to the game plan last night as they blocked a little more than 20 shots. Tocchet said that the Lightning need to be better at getting their entire body in front of the puck and not just trying to throw a stick at it. Let's be honest, the Lightning hung punch-for-punch with one of the Eastern Conference's best teams last night and hopefully they can build on that tonight against the Hurricanes.
Mike McKenna will get the start for Tampa Bay after Karri Ramo started two in a row. Ramo responded well to the challenge put in front of him and even though his 0-1-1 wouldn't show it, he posted a .921 save percentage in those games. McKenna's previous start was February 14 against the Capitals.
Gary Roberts returns to the line-up tonight after getting last night off for body maintenance. Mark Recchi will get tonight's game off for the same reason. As Tocchet said, "He was supposed to play 60 games or so and he's played all of them."
Matt Smaby has made quite an impression with the coaching staff during his latest stint with the Lightning. He has been playing through the pain of a lower body injury and has been walking in a boot while still playing in games. "He's played really well for a guy that hasn't practiced much. His development has been great," Tocchet said. As for the injury the coach just said he knows it must be pretty sore when Smaby wakes up in the morning after a game.