|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
Sticking with what works, John Tortorella once again made this morning’s skate mandatory for the Lightning after doing the same before Thursday’s 5-3 win in Philly. Tortorella usually allows players to choose if they want to skate in the morning on game days, but he gave the team a day off on Friday so everyone was required to stretch their legs a bit today.
Expect the lineup to be the same tonight, with Andreas Karlsson and Brad Lukowich sitting out. Karlsson skated this morning, while Lukowich didn’t. He’s still listed as day to day with a groin/abdominal injury. Johan Holmqvist is the planned starter in goal, which kills my theory that Tortorella was going with home and road goaltenders.
Washington only had a few players on the ice this morning after last night’s loss in Florida. According to the Washington papers, Olaf Kolzig is expected to be in goal tonight for the Caps.
Obviously tonight is a huge game for the Lightning, who were likely written off by a lot of people but have quietly crept back into the playoff picture. Florida plays Carolina and Atlanta is on Long Island tonight, so I suppose Lightning fans have to cheer for the Panthers (ugh) and Islanders tonight. If the Lightning, Panthers and Islanders win tonight, the Southeast Division will be even more up for grabs with Carolina, Atlanta and Florida tied for the lead at 62 points, while Washington would have 60 followed by the Lightning at 58. The Bolts would still have two games in hand on the Hurricanes, Thrashers and Panthers and one on the Capitals.
This is getting fun!