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The Lightning Insider - Game Day

by Lightning Insider / Tampa Bay Lightning

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We're back in Canada again, though the temperatures in Ottawa are much milder than what we experienced a couple of weeks ago out in Edmonton and Calgary. There’s still a lot of snow on the ground but it is melting fast and the grass is peaking through. Thankfully this will be a quick swing through Ontario for the Lightning, with games tonight and tomorrow (Toronto) before we head to South Florida Friday afternoon.

Tonight’s game is a rarity. Not since the early years have these two 1992 expansion brethren played a late-season game when neither team was moving on to the playoffs. Both teams will feature a lot of guys fighting for jobs next season, so the intensity should be good. I expect a good game tonight out of Cory Murphy, a native of Kanata, the suburb where the arena is located.

Tonight marks the Lightning debut of defenseman Richard Petiot (PET-ee-oh), acquired from Toronto at the trade deadline. Petiot has good size, and Interim Head Coach Rick Tocchet said he’ll be looking for a simple game from him tonight.

“Make a nice first pass, box out, control the gaps,” Tocchet said. “It’s little things like that that we’re really searching for right now.”

With Petiot moving into the lineup David Koci moves back to forward, though he might be scratched. Karri Ramo starts tonight, and Tocchet said he hadn’t decided if he’ll use him again tomorrow night in Toronto.

Since we’re in Canada the improved play of rookie Steven Stamkos was a hot topic at the morning skate. Stamkos has been playing on a line with Martin St. Louis lately, and Tocchet said Stamkos earned his spot.

“I think he deserves to get a guy like Marty,” Tocchet said. “I think Stammer needs to play with a north-south guy who can buzz.”

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