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Steve Yzerman Era begins in Tampa Bay

by Brian Compton

THRASHERS (1-0-0) at LIGHTNING (0-0-0)


Season series
-- This is the first of six meetings between the Southeast Division rivals. Tampa Bay defeated Atlanta five times in 2009-10, with two of those contests requiring overtime or the shootout.

Big story -- It's Game 1 of the Steve Yzerman Era in Tampa Bay. The Hall of Famer was named GM of the Lightning on May 25 with the responsibility of bringing the winning he was accustomed to in Detroit down to the Sunshine State. Yzerman's first order of business was to hire a new coach, which he did on June 10 as Guy Boucher was named the seventh bench boss in franchise history.

Team Scope:

Thrashers -- Atlanta put forth one of the gutsiest efforts in the history of its franchise Friday night, when the Thrashers pulled together after goalie Ondrej Pavelec collapsed on the ice and beat the Washington Capitals by a 4-2 score at Philips Arena.

Pavelec collapsed less than three minutes into the game and was taken off the ice on a stretcher. He later regained consciousness and preliminary tests were negative.

"He's awake, alert and asking about the score of the game, but will be kept overnight for observation," the team said in a statement.

Lightning -- It's hard to imagine how Steven Stamkos can improve on what he was able to accomplish last season, when he shared the NHL lead with 51 goals. Stamkos will have another weapon at his disposal in 2010-11 as the Lightning acquired Simon Gagne from Philadelphia over the summer.

"I'm very excited about the moves he's made," Stamkos said of Yzerman. "The respect factor just instantly kicks in with our team now. The whole atmosphere has changed for the better and we can't wait to get the season going."

Who's hot -- Evander Kane scored twice for the Thrashers in their win against Washington on Friday night, including once on a penalty shot. He finished with seven shots on goal.

Injury report -- Atlanta center Patrick Cormier is out indefinitely with a broken right foot, while LW Andrew Kozek (sports hernia) and C Jim Slater (wrist) are also out. … Tampa Bay LW Mitch Fadden (shoulder) is out indefinitely.

Stat pack -- Tampa Bay has missed the playoffs the last three years with three different coaches, three general managers and two owners.

Puck drop -- "I think Guy can bring a new system that could be ... I don't know what we are going to call it, but it could be a new start in hockey, a little more offense than the trap. The way he is going to play the game, I think, is going to be more offense, it's going to be aggressive and in the defensive end, too. I'm looking forward to really playing that. I never thought it could be possible to play a different system. You always play the trap. It's always the same thing. The system might change, but it's not something new. You are used to playing the same four or five systems. This one is totally different." -- Lightning forward Simon Gagne on new coach Guy Boucher

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