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With Lecavalier out, Stamkos, St. Louis and Purcell handle the scoring for Tampa Bay Lightning



Here's a pretty interesting stat: In the five games Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier has been out with a fractured right hand, the team has scored 13 goals while going 3-2-0. Eleven of those goals have been scored by Steven Stamkos (4), Marty St. Louis (4) and Teddy Purcell (3).

Extrapolate that to include the 19 games in which the team is 12-5-2, the trio has scored 34 of 55 goals. That's 62 percent.

"We're offensive guys and counted on by our teammates," Stamkos said. "We want that pressure. We know that's what we have to do to win games."

"With the trades and Vinny injured, it's not like we're asking guys on our third and fourth lines, even our second line to go out and score goals," coach Guy Boucher said. "Once Vinny is there, we're going to try to spread the wealth a little bit."

When that will happen is not quite certain. Boucher said on Tuesday that in a best-case scenario, Lecavalier might be back in 10 days. But Lecavalier said on Friday that there is no timetable. He said he does not have pain doing day-to-day things. But there is some pain when he grips his stick and he has trouble in general gripping anything.

"The strength isn't there yet," said the center, who skated for 45 minutes before the team Friday wearing two five-pound weight vests.

Asked how long he can count on Stamkos, Purcell and St. Louis to keep up the pace, Boucher said, "We have to. We need bonus goals from other guys, but I don't think Stamkos wants to stop scoring."

Other stuff from the morning skate: As expected, Mathieu Garon gets the start in net tonight against the Rangers. ... With defenseman Keith Aulie in the lineup for the first time, Boucher said he will go with seven defensemen. ... Boucher said right wing Ryan Shannon, who has missed three games with an upper-body injury, might be able to play. ... Boucher said he liked the contributions of new defensemen Mike Commodore and Brian Lee in their first game Tuesday against the Canadiens. "I thought they played great," he said. "Lee had a few solid body checks and Commodore, too. They manhandled a few guys. That was certainly welcome. We have been a smaller, skill-type defensive team and it was good to see some size and aggressiveness. They are really good additions." ... New York's 46 road points (20-8-4) are tops in the East and second in the league overall behind the Canucks' 48. ... The Rangers are 13-2-1 against the Southeast this season. Tampa Bay is 1-1-1 against New York, or from the Rangers' view, they are 2-0-1 against the Lightning.

[Last modified: Friday, March 2, 2012 1:08pm]


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