Lightning Strikes (Cristodero)
The Lightning should get a boost tonight against the Jets when left wing Ryan Malone returns to the lineup after missing 13 games with a lower-body injury.
“It feels good,” Malone said. “I think we just took our time with it and went through the rehab properly. So, it feels good, and I’m excited to get back for a big game.”
Malone, 33, was hurt before the Feb. 10 game at the Rangers during the team’s usual soccer ball kick-around. Malone said he aggravated an existing condition when he tried to kick the ball.
It took so Malone so long to get back, he said, because the team wanted him completely healed before he got back on the ice. A good plan as Malone has been injury prone. He has not played more than 70 games in any of his four previous Tampa Bay seasons, and in 20010-11 played only 54.
“We didn’t want to come back too early for any reason,” Malone said. “You want to do everything you can to help the team, but you want to make sure you do everything you can not to get injured again.”
“Nothing is like a game,” Malone added, “but as much body contact as I could get in practice, we did. I’m fully healed and ready.”
Expect Malone, who has four goals and five points in 10 games, to take his usual turns on the power play and penalty kill, though coach Guy Boucher said he will monitor Malone’s minutes.
“He hasn’t played in a long timer, so I have to be smart and give him the minutes he can manager,” Boucher said. “I’m going to have to hold it back a little bit so he can look good on the ice.”
Other stuff from the morning skate: With Malone back in the lineup, sounds as if forward Adam Hall will be scratched. … Center Steven Stamkos, with a league-best 17 goals, did not skate but is expected to play. Boucher said Stamkos simply deserved a rest. … Defensemen Marc-Ander Bergeron and Brendan Mikkelson also will be scratched. … As expected, Anders Lindback will be in net against Winnipeg. … Goaltender Mathieu Garon on Wednesday had an MRI exam on the lower body injury that forced him out of Monday’s game at Pittsburgh. He said the exam came back all clear and he will skate Friday and then re-evaluate. … Captain Vinny Lecavalier’s production has fallen off recently, but it coincides with his left foot injury, sustained Feb. 2, when he took a slap shot from teammate Sami Salo flush off the left foot. Lecavalier has two goals and nine points in 15 games since then. Before the injury he had four goals and 11 points in eight games. “It’s been tough for him,” Boucher said. “It affects his push-off, it affects his timing. Eventually, it’s his confidence. He was just trying to survive out there.” But Lecavalier has shown signs of a rebound with three assists in his past two games. His two-point effort Tuesday at New Jersey was his best overall since his injury. “I definitely feel stronger now,” he said. “It feels better every day.” Asked if a game or two off would have helped, Lecavalier said sitting out was never seriously considered, especially with the team struggling. “You want to be part of it,” he said. “You want to keep pushing through as a player. You ask any guys in this room. If the same thing happened, they would do the same thing. They want to keep playing and want to keep going.” … Rookie Cory Conacher said the head shot he took Tuesday from New Jersey’s Cam Janssen “hurt a little” but “I tried to get up as fast as I could to show no pain.” Janssen left his feet and used his shoulder to hit Conacher. Janssen got a charging penalty. There was no supplementary discipline from the league. “It was my fault for not guarding myself a little better and expecting the hit,” Conacher said, and added about teammate Victor Hedman confronting Janssen, “It’s the type of teammate you want. It’s important to have guys like that on your team. It shows a lot of character. You have to appreciate him doing that for me. … Terry Crisp, the Lightning’s first coach and now a television analyst for the Predators, will be honored at tonight’s game as part of Tampa Bay’s 20th anniversary celebration.??
Lightning center Nate Thompson talks about the 5-2 win over the Devils at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J, and his career-best two-goal game.??
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Mathieu Garon said he felt a lot better Tuesday and does not believe his lower-body injury is serious.
In fact, Garon, listed as day to day, said he hopes to be ready to play “in a couple of days.”
“We’ll have to test it on the ice, but in a couple of days, hopefully, I’ll be good.”
In the meantime, Cedrick Desjardins was called up from AHL Syracuse and will be the backup to Anders Lindback tonight at New Jersey.
Garon, who was having another superb game Monday against the Penguins, was hurt early in the second period as he twisted himself to prepare for a shot. And he, in fact, made a terrific save on Evgeni Malkin’s one-timer from in front of the net.
But at the next break in the action, Garon was looked at by head athletic trainer Tommy Mulligan and left the game at 2:19 of the period after stopping 12 of 13 shots.
Garon, whose 2011-12 season ended in a March 6 game against the Senators because of a torn groin, said his current injury has nothing to do with any previous problem, though he declined to give specifics
So did coach Guy Boucher
“It’s day-to-day,” he said. “We’ll see but right now it’s not something to fall off a bridge for.”
Garon has played in six consecutive games for Tampa Bay, including five starts. He is just 1-4-0 in that stretch but has a respectable 2.61 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.
Other stuff from the morning: Left wing Ryan Malone will miss his 13th game with a lower body injury. Boucher said malone had a hard practice Tuesday, the results of which might go a long way to determining when Malone plays, but it will not be against the Devils. … Other than Lindback in net and Desjardins as the backup, Boucher said he will go with the same lineup as in Monday’s 4-3 loss to the Penguins. … Ondrej Palat got good reviews for his first NHL game Monday in which he had 9:28 of ice time and his first NHL point, an assist, on Tom Pyatt’s goal. “The guys are bigger and quicker and the first couple of shifts I looked around, how is it to play in the NHL,” Palat said. “But after a couple of shifts I felt pretty comfortable and played my game.” As for gaining his first NHL point, Palat said, “I’m very happy, but too bad we lost the game.” … Pyatt could have sustained some major damage Monday when Nate Thompson’s deflected shot hit him under his nose. Instead, the puck deflected off him and floated past crouching goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Pyatt said he didn’t even know he had scored until his teammates began celebrating. “I was down on my knees checking my teeth,” Pyatt said. … Another reason we like Pierre-Cedric Labrie. When Pittsburgh’s Deryk Engelland slipped and fell during his fight with Labrie, Labrie stopped fighting. “I fought him before, like three years ago in Manitoba,” Labrie said. “I remember I slipped and while I was down he just stopped, a loyal player. I respect that kind of player for sure.”
FIRST STAR - STEVEN STAMKOS, C, TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos talks about Tuesday's 2-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.??
FIRST STAR -- JAKUB VORACEK, RW, PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
Voracek led all skaters in points …
Thomas left the team in a rush, and will miss tonight’s game against the Hurricanes in order to make it to Montreal to see his son, Christian, 20, make his NHL debut with the Rangers.
Thomas, who played 20 years in the NHL, …
Tampa Bay Lightning wing Teddy Purcell said the 4-2 loss to the Bruins Thursday night served as a "measuring stick" against one of the top teams in the conference.
Actually, the better question is why wouldn’t he be? “Anyone player who tells you they’re not superstitious is probably lying,” he said.
Asked to give some examples of his superstitions, Stamkos mentioned:
* Putting the left …
Lightning rookie Alex Killorn talks about his first NHL goal after a 6-5 overtime victory over the Panthers on Feb. 16.??