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Saturday’s game between the Lightning and Bruins at TD Garden, which was postponed because of a massive storm that dumped 25 inches of snow on Boston, has been rescheduled for April 25, the league announced. The game will be the second-to-last of the season for Tampa Bay and the second of a back-to-back that includes the Maple Leafs in Tampa on April 24.
The storm that dumped about 25 inches of snow on Boston Friday night into Saturday morning forced the postponement of Saturday night's game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Bruins at TD Garden. The league said the game will be rescheduled.
"Although both clubs and the assigned on-ice officials are in Boston, travel conditions remain too hazardous for fans, security personnel and TD Garden staff to get to the arena," the NHL said in a release.
With Boston's Logan Airport still closed, the Lightning will bus Saturday afternoon to New York for Sunday night's game with the Rangers.
Saturday's game already had been switched from a 1 p.m. start to 7 p.m. And while the snow has stopped, and the sun has even peaked out occasionally, a travel ban remains in effect until 4 p.m. and certainly not all roads have been cleared.
Interestingly, the Lightning Saturday morning made it by bus from the team hotel to the arena (while the snow was still falling and the wind was still howling) for a morning skate. The bus only got stuck once, though driver Jason Stirk, 29, of Boston, did a fine job maneuvering the snowy streets with help, for the second half of the trip, from a police escort.
"I like the hotel," coach Guy Boucher said, "but when you're enclosed like that, everybody is breathing the same air, so to see some hockey, feel some hockey, guys wanted to get on (the ice)."
From the Lightning:
NHL, BOSTON BRUINS ANNOUNCE TIME CHANGE FOR SATURDAY’S BRUINS, LIGHTNING GAME
BOSTON, MA – The National Hockey League and the Boston Bruins have announced that the start time for the Bruins/Lightning game on Saturday, February 9 has been moved to 7 p.m. at the TD Garden due to the weather.
The game was originally scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 9 at the TD Garden.
Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos scored a goal on his 22nd birthday last year, though the team lost 3-1 to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Kings. Stamkos said he wouldn't mind a "big win" over the Devils tonight, on his 23rd birthday, no matter if he scores or not.
Stamkos' 186 goals are the most any active player had when turning 23. They also are fourth all-time behind Wayne Gretzky (329), Dale Hawerchuk (220) and Mario Lemieux (215).
"It's pretty surreal when you think about it," Stamkos said. "It's something that you work hard towards. It's not something that you set as a goal but it's an accomplishment to be up with guys like that. It just goes to show the quality of teammates and coaching staff I've played with and the opportunities I've got. At the end of the day I want t continue getting better and scoring more goals and helping this team win."
We've talked before about how Stamkos, just with time, has grown bigger and stronger and how his summer workouts with trainer Gary Roberts have helped Stamkos take better advantage of his skills. But with age also comes wisdom.
"It's not necessarily the older the wise, it's more experienced," Stamkos said. "You could be young and go through situations where you can gain that knowledge. For sure, i buy into the experience thing. If I knew what I know now the last time we were in the playoffs (2010-11), it's a different story. I'm definitely maturing as a person and a player, picking up different things every day I play. It's going to be an ongoing process until you are done playing."
Asked for a specific example of how experience has helped his game, Stamkos said, "My mind-set coming into games compared to the first 40 games of my rookie season is night and day, the confidence level, what you expect of yourself, what your teammates expect of you, knowing your opponents now. I've been in this league, this is my fifth year. You understand what type of team you're playing against, what type of player you're playing against their type of tendencies. Those are the things you pick up. That's why veteran players are usually successful, they're able to pick up those things as they go through their careers. That's something I'm starting to do now."
Other stuff from the morning skate: As expected, Anders Lindback gets the start in net. ... Sounds as if right wing B.J. Crombeen will be out of the lineup tonight, but coach Guy Boucher says it is only a precaution after Crombeen had to leave Tuesday's game after a fight with the Flyers' Zac Rinaldo. Crombeen took several hard blows to the head (including at least one when he was on his knees in a defenseless position). Crombeen and Boucher said the player has not shown any concussion symptoms. But with the hyper-sensitive atmosphere right now when it comes to head injuries, it seems to make sense to hold out Crombeen, who did not skate this morning. "It's touchy," Boucher said. "It's a lot more touchy than it used to be. I remember when I was playing, you got knocked out and you didn't know what was going on but if you could say what your name was you were back in after 10 seconds. It's changed quite a bit and it changed for the better that we're more careful." Crombeen skated Wednesday and rode the bike Tuesday and today without effects, he said. "It's tough," he added. "Every ounce of me wants to be out there with the boys and the team but you understand the rationale behind it and it's definitely not going to hurt to get some rest." As for Crombeen being more aware of head injuries given the recent publicity, especially coming out of the NFL, he said, "You play hockey and you play the way I play, obviously, you know the risks that come along with it. It's kind of what you signed up for. So, you do the best to protect yourself and make sure those kinds of things don't happen. There's a chance something can happen to you walking down the street, but it's obviously heightened playing hockey and playing at this level. You just try to be aware of it and conscious of it." ... Nothing official but appears that defenseman Brian Lee and right wing Pierre-Cedric Labrie also will be scratched as they were on the ice late. If so, that means Boucher will play with 11 forwards and seven defenseman. It also would mean defenseman Brendan Mikkelson gets in his second game of the season and first since Jan. 22 against the Hurricanes, and defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron gets in his third game of the season. ... Rookie left wing Cory Conacher got an official letter from the Lightning telling him he can look for permanent housing in the Tampa Bay area. The team had put Conacher up at a hotel during his first few games in the league. And while nobody expected Tampa Bay to send Conacher back to the minors, getting the letter was a relief. "It's a Christmas gift for me," he said. "It's such a dream come true for a young kid like myself." ... The Lightning's three one-goal losses in regulation are as many as the team had all last season.
Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos turned 23 today. His 186 goals are more than any active player had when turning that age and fourth all-time. Asked if he had any birthday plans, he said, "A win would be nice." Here are the lists, provided by the Elias Sports Bureau, of the top goal scorers, active and all-time, at 23 years old.
Steven Stamkos 186
Sidney Crosby 183
Alex Ovechkin 163
Ilya Kovalchuk 160
Jaromir Jagr 138
Wayne Gretzky 329
Dale Hawerchuk 220
Mario Lemieux 215
Steven Stamkos 186
Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier talks about Tuesday's 2-1 loss to the Flyers and his fight with Max Talbot.
Nothing was announced officially, but watching the Tampa Bay Lightning's morning skate for its game tonight against the Flyers seemed to indicate a few lineup changes.
With Pierre-Cedric Labrie off the ice early and Dana Tyrell staying late, it seems as if Labrie will get his first game action since the Jan. 21 road opener against the Islanders. Defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron might also get some playing time as he also was off the ice early. Another tweak: wings Teddy Purcell and Ryan Malone have swapped assignments. Purcell was on a line with center Vinny Lecavalier and Cory Conacher. Malone took Purcell's former spot on a line with center Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis.
"I tend to keep Stammer and Marty together and Conacher and Vinny together and move guys in and out of there depending on the period, depending on the momentum (of a game)," coach Guy Boucher said. "Malone brings a physical aspect to a line and Teddy brings a passing ability and vision that's out of the ordinary,so they're both good on both lines depending on the moment of the game. If I want to stir up something or I see something or I see the matchup that the other teams wants to have against us, sometimes I'll make a different decision."
As for how Labrie and Bergeron have handled their lack of playing time -- Labrie got 4:54 against the Islanders, Bergeron has 14:15 in two games -- Boucher said he could not have asked for more.
"Terrific attitude and work ethic," he said. "I know they're boiling and want to play, but they want more and to show what they can do. But on the outside, they've helped out the team chemistry and atmosphere."
"I'm practicing and I know I'm getting better, so there's nothing wrong with that," Labrie said. "I'm keeping the positive side. I'm closing my eyes to the other one."
Even so, he added, "Everybody feels the same when you're sitting down and watching, but we have such a good team. When you win like that you can't expect the coach to make the lineup changes or anything. Nobody deserves to sit."
Other stuff from the morning skate: As expected Anders Lindback will get the start in net. ... Defenseman Victor Hedman (left foot) did not skate in the morning but is expected to play. ... Lecavalier (left foot) also skated in the morning and is expected to play. ... Defenseman Brendan Mikkelson (right shoulder and general soreness) has been cleared to play after sliding head- and shoulder-first into the end boards during a Thursday practice at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. ... Defenseman Matt Carle will play for the first time at the Wells Fargo Center since he left he Flyers as a free agent and signed last summer with the Lightning. "It's a little different. I have a lot of memories in this building," said Carle, who spent four seasons with Philadelphia. "It's weird being over here in this locker room. I had to do a quick tour. I think, maybe, I played two games on the road against the Flyers before I got traded here. I didn't know what the visiting locker room really looked like." ... Tyrell probably is out of the lineup tonight, but that does not mean he hasn't impressed Boucher. "He is pond-for-pound one of the strongest players we've got and one of the most dedicated individuals we've got." ... Ben Pouliot also has impressed, Boucher said. "In front of the net he's unbelievable," he said. "Our goaltenders have told me he's one of the best they've ever seen. So, he screens and he's not scared."
Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier said his left ankle, which on Saturday was hit flush by a shot from teammate Sami Salo, still is sore, and he did not practice Monday. But about Tuesday's game against the Flyers, Lecavalier said, "There is no thought of me not playing."
Lecavalier, who has four goals, 11 points in eight games, as well as a team-best 24 hits, was hurt just as the third period of Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Rangers ended. Tampa Bay had closed to one goal with 21 seconds left on Steven Stamkos' second goal of the game and seventh of the season, and Salo's shot from the blue line was the team's last chance.
But the shot deflected slightly off New York's Brian Boyle and hit Lecavalier on the outside of the left ankle. Lecavalier went down face-first when hit and skated slowly off the ice, occasionally doubling over in pain. But X-rays and an MRI exam revealed no serious damage and the team said Lecavalier has a bone bruise.
Asked how the lineup would change if Lecavalier could not play, coach Guy Boucher said, "He'll play."
Lecavalier said he skipped Monday's practice simply to give the ankle a bit more time to heal, and he said he will keep icing and get other treatments.
"It's still pretty sore," he said. "But honestly, there's no thought of me not playing tomorrow."
Notes: Boucher said Anders Lindback, 5-1-0 this season with a 2.83 goals-against average and .911 save percentage, will get the start against the Flyers. ... Right wing B.J. Crombeen still is wearing a walking boot and still is using crutches, but both are said to be precautions to protect his injured left foot he said was hurt by a puck several games ago. Crombeen has not missed a game.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Rangers. See game photos.
Images of the Tampa Bay Lightning vs. the Winnipeg Jets.
Tampa Bay Lightning fans likely remember James Wright as the feel-good story of the first half of the 2009-10 season, when the left wing made the roster out of junior. He played 48 games before he was sent back to Vancouver of the Western Hockey League.
Wright, 22, is back in the NHL with the Jets, who play the Lightning tonight at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, and in his team's good graces after attacking Florida's Scottie Upshall on Thursday after Upshall elbowed teammate Zach Redmond in the head in his first NHL game.
"I think that through the years the coaches have instilled a team mentality, all for one and stick up for each other," said Wright, who earned 19 penalty minutes, including a 10-minute misconduct, five for fighting and two each for instigating and unsportsmanlike conduct for instigating while wearing a face shield. "I thought that was a time a teammate got taken advantage of and it was time for me to stick up for him."
"I was happy with what happened," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "It was a good response from him."
After his stint with Tampa Bay, Wright played another season for Vancouver and in 2010-11 played for AHL Norfolk. In 2011-12, still with Norfolk, he was traded to the Panthers with Mike Vernace for defensemen Mike Kostka and Evan Oberg and was sent to AHL San Antonio. The Jets claimed him off waivers in January.
In five games for the Jets, Wright has zero points, is minus-1 and averaging 7:17 of ice time with some penalty kill time thrown in.
"He's played really well," Noel said. "He's a really dependable player for us right now, a good, solid, fourth-line left winger that skates and is hard to play against. For me, he's gotten better every game."
"There were a lot of good guys I learned from here," said Wright, drafted 117th overall by the Lightning in 2008. "Marty (St. Louis) and Vinny (Lecavalier) are classy guys, and the way they went about their professionalism was something I took full advantage of learning."
"It's going to be awesome," Wright said of playing at the Times Forum. "I haven't been back here for a while. It's going to be pretty cool."
Other stuff from the morning skate: As expected, Anders Lindback will make his fourth straight start in net for the Lightning. ... Defensemen Marc-Andre Bergeron and Brendan Mikkelson and right wing Pierre-Cedric Labrie are scratched. ... Mikkelson said he "dodged a bullet" when he crashed head- and shoulder-first into the end boards during Thursday's practice. Mikkelson, who is day-to-day, said all tests performed at Tampa General Hospital (an X-ray and a CT scan) were negative. He said he has no headaches and is nothing more than sore and stiff. Mikkelson said he isn't sure whether he got his skates tangled up with those of Steven Stamkos as they raced after a puck or if he just "blew a tire." Either way, Mikkelson said he never before hit the boards that hard and believes he was unconscious for a few seconds. When he came to he said he was "gasping for air" as the wind was knocked out of him. Of the collision, he said, "The guys told me it was pretty solid." ... Right wing Marty St. Louis has a dubious distinction as entering Friday he was tied for the league lead with Penguins defenseman Kris Letang with 11 giveaways. But coach Guy Boucher said he is not worried and not only because St. Louis, with 12 points on three goals and nine assists has been so productive offensively. "Some of the plays that are turnovers have worked before," Boucher said. "Why they don't work now is" because of "what kind of reads they have." The key, Boucher said, is "managing those offensive skills and creativity in a way the players are strong."