|Let tampabaylightning.com become your destination for all the latest Lightning scoops. The Lightning Insider will be in the stands, in the locker room and on the road with the team throughout the 2007-08 season to provide you with a positive look at the Bolts as they pursue Lord Stanley’s hardware. Our resident snoop will post the latest following practices and morning skates, and he’ll make sure you’re the first to know when the Lightning are making news. Have a question or comment for The Insider? Send me an email at Insider@tampabaylightning.com
For some reason the wins against Toronto at home seem a lot more enjoyable than most. Maybe it’s the bad run the Lightning have had against the Leafs, or maybe it’s all the vacationing/transplanted Ontarians chanting “Go Leafs Go” at the games that make it more fun. (Note to Lightning fans – although Doug Janik, Jay Leach and Mike Lundin might appreciate it, when you chant “USA! USA!” as a retort you might be alienating the 17 non-American Tampa Bay players on the ice!)
Karri Ramo looked confident in his first NHL start, coming out to challenge shooters and playing a strong game positioning-wise. It’s only one game though, and the Lightning as a whole played a much better defensive game than in recent contests.
“I thought we played very well away from the puck and we held the neutral zone well until the third period when they had a couple of surges and our goalie made some key saves,” John Tortorella said today following practice.
Tortorella also commented that wing Jason Ward, who scored the first Lightning goal while on a line with Vinny Lecavalier, played well because he stuck to what he knows. Tortorella said Ward was moved up to the top line to play the same way he did on the third line, and the key is that he can’t change his game.
MASH unit update: Ouch! Craig MacDonald took a puck in the mouth from close range late in the game, and the result wasn’t pretty. MacDonald received extensive stitches after the game, and the extent of the damage was revealed today. The puck claimed nine of MacDonald’s teeth, though some were only broken and it looks like three can be saved. In addition, he took 25-30 stitches in his tongue and a total of about 50 inside his mouth. Luckily, there wasn’t any damage to his jaw and he’ll be listed as day to day. Being a hockey player, MacDonald hasn’t been ruled out for tomorrow night.
Chris Gratton (hip) practiced with the team today, but Tortorella wouldn’t say for certain if he’ll play tomorrow. He categorized Gratton, MacDonald and Brad Lukowich (shoulder) as “game-time decisions.” Lukowich did not skate with the team today.