Roloson back in net; Lundin and Thompson likely game-time decisions
Joe Smith here in Carolina filling in for Damian.
First, looking ahead to tonight's game against the Hurricanes: The Lightning will try to bounce back from last night's disappointing loss to the last-place Devils. Coach Guy Boucher said G Dwayne Roloson will be back in net, coming off a rough night in which he gave up four goals on nine shots.
Both D Mike Lundin and C Nate Thompson are both a little banged up, with Boucher saying he'll have to wait until warm-ups to see who's in and who's out. With Lundin, it's a lower-body injury, as he was hit by a shot Friday. He said he got x-rays and there's nothing broken or anything, it's just a matter of pain tolerance.
*In today's pre-game meeting with the team, Boucher tried to get the message across to his team how their apparent lack of urgency against the supposed bottom-end teams can come back to bite them.
Boucher drew on the board how they've lost 18 points in losses like Friday to the Devils, as they're 1-3-3 against the likes of the Flames, Oilers, Islanders and Panthers. Boucher cautioned how even though the Lightning is near the top of the Eastern Conference, they still need to have the "urgency and the seriousness of playing for our lives."
"I don't care if we win against the top teams, if we lose against the teams that don't make the playoffs, we're not going to make the playoffs," Boucher said. "There's 24 points that are coming up that are against teams that, right now, are probably not going to make the playoffs. If we lose these games, that's 24 points. We don't make the playoffs. I think I might have shocked them a little bit today, because that's the reality. Right now it's going well for the team, in general. The reality is, it can turn around in two seconds if we don't show up."
Boucher said the coaching staff has tried everything. But for whatever reason, the meticulous attention to detail and urgency the Lightning has used to get where it is in the standings doesn't translate in those games. He pointed to Friday's loss to the Devils, and how they had just six scoring chances (none involved a 2-on-1, etc), but they scored on the first four. The Lighting did uncharacteristic things that were not part of the gameplan, both on defense and offense.
"We tried scaring the guys, we tried beating them up the day before to make sure they're ready," Boucher said. "We tried showing them we've got extreme confidence in ourselves against those teams. We've tried no morning skate. We tried morning skate. We tried short practice the day before. We tried hard practice the day before. We tried days off, we've tried it all.
"Right now, it's a responsibility that's also within the room."
Boucher said it meant for a sleepless night for him. Well, maybe two hours.
"We realize that we're not a powerhouse at all, by any means," Boucher said. "When you look at (Philadelphia's) lineup, that's a powerhouse. We're an extremely hardworking team that's gotten everything we've gotten from mour work ethic and because we want it more than the opponents. So any day that we want it as much as the opponent, we're going to lose."
- JOE SMITH