Lineup tweaks are likely coming for the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight against the Flyers
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."