Blair Jones seems to grab final line spot for Tampa Bay Lightning's Friday opener
The forward lines are taking shape for the Tampa Bay Lightning ahead of its Friday opener at Carolina. The last spot available seems to have been grabbed by Blair Jones, who has been practicing on a line with center Nate Thompson and Adam Hall. That means Mattias Ritola and Tom Pyatt likely will sit out the first game.
"If we would start today we'd have Thompson Hall and Jones," coach Guy Boucher said after Wednesday's practice. "The reason is that Jones was with us last year, played in the playoffs, came in in outstanding shape and with an incredible attitude and has been steady in every practice and every game he's played, so he deserves it. Plus, he can win faceoffs, too."
Ritola and Pyatt will get their turns, Boucher said. For now, though, "We'll go with the guys who are here to start." But after that, "It is all wide open."
Here are the projected lines for Friday's opener:
Marty St. Louis-Steven Stamkos-Steve Downie
Ryan Malone-Vinny Lecavalier-Teddy Purcell
Ryan Shannon-Dominic Moore-Brett Connolly
Blair Jones-Nate Thompson-Adam Hall
Victor Hedman-Eric Brewer
Marc-Andre Bergeron-Pavel Kubina
Brett Clark-Matt Gilroy