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Sunrise isn’t the most entertaining stop on the road for the Lightning – it’s not like Boston, Montreal or New York City – but at least the mall across the street from the hotel has a Cheesecake Factory and a P.F. Chang’s. I had the special good fortune of taking a trip to Fort Lauderdale to once again experience the Rustic Inn Crabhouse, which has been dishing out bowls of garlic blue crabs along the banks of the Dania Cutoff Canal since 1955. Jimmy Buffett and Johnny Depp are among the patrons of this old Fort Lauderdale classic, but don’t expect fancy atmosphere, just good food. Highly recommended!
Back to business, the Lightning need to end this trip on a high note, especially with the Detroit Red Wings already waiting in Tampa for tomorrow night’s game at the St. Pete Times Forum. A win tonight produces some momentum and gives the team a 2-2-1 road trip, which wouldn’t be too bad at all. Also, it’s the Panthers…
Evgeny Artyukhin was declared good to go at the morning skate today, though Ryan Malone
’s lower body injury will keep him out. Just when it looks like Matt Pettinger might get the call, someone gets healthy. Artyukhin will certainly provide a boost, though.
Head Coach Barry Melrose was back on the ice with the team today after letting the assistant coaches run practice yesterday. When he spoke to the media he was straightforward about why he felt it was time to lay into the players in yesterday’s team meeting.
“I ask them to come out and compete every night,” he said. “When you try to do it for 20 minutes or 40 minutes it costs you. It cost us in Washington.”
Melrose added he was “mulling over” whether Artyukhin would re-join a line with Jussi Jokinen and Mark Recchi, or if he’d leave Gary Roberts with that line after his two goals Monday night.