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Defenseman Mike Lundin likely to play for Tampa Bay Lightning against the Thrashers



Tampa Bay Lightning coach Rick Tocchet would not say it as a definite, but it appears defenseman Mike Lundin will get to play Sunday against the Thrashers. Tocchet said all seven of the Lightning's healthy blue-liners will skate in pregame warm-ups, but Tocchet also said Lundin likely will get in.

And all we can say about that is good for Mike Lundin.

You've got to really like Lundin, 25, who was a feel-good story as a rookie in 2007-08, when, right out of the University of Maine, he played 81 games as a rookie. But after spending most of last season with AHL Norfolk and getting cut from the big club this season out of camp, Lundin has worked his way back into the show. 

Yes, injuries helped deplete the Lightning blue line enough that the team needs depth. But Lundin would not have gotten the call up if he was laying an egg in the minors.

So, Lundin gets a chance to prove he belongs -- either with Tampa bay or another team. But at least he gets a chance.

Pregame: Lundin is indeed playing. Left wing Todd Fedoruk was scratched as the Lightning went with seven defensemen. ... Lightning goaltender Antero Niittymaki is 13-0 against the Thrashers but has also won 14 straight games against the Southeast. ... Center Steven Stamkos will play in his 100th game. ... How frustrated must be defenseman Matt Smaby. A quarter of the way into the season he has played in five games, all in the minors, and has two upper-body injuries. ... After playing three solid games on the road, goaltender Mike Smith, who was 0-5-1 on the road previously, said he has regained some confidence."The last three games have definitely been a step up," he said. And Tocchet said the way Smith worked during the two weeks he sat behind Niittymaki gave the coach a new appreciation for his player. "His mental toughness was tested," Tocchet said. "You always find out about certain guys. I saw another side of Smitty where he worked his (butt) off even harder in practice." ... Have you noticed that Stamkos has kind of disappeared the last little while. He had that amazing goal in Anaheim but has just three shots on goal his past three games.       

[Last modified: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 12:15am]


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