Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher sounds ominous warnings about game with Flyers
Here are a couple of the best sound bites from Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher about tonight's game with the Flyers. Talk about trying to lower expectations:
"Right now we've got a team that's firing on all cylinders (the Flyers). If we play like we did on the road defensively, we're going to get our butts whipped."
"We'll need a total team effort. We'll need our best game of the year for this one. If we don't have it, it ain't gonna happen."
The worry for Boucher is that the Lightning is without two of its top defensemen -- Mattias Ohlund and Victor Hedman -- because of injuries. Because of that, the remaining defensemen are moving into situations they might not be familiar with. For example, Matt Gilroy will play on the top pairing with Eric Brewer. Gilroy, as Boucher pointed out, was a sixth defenseman for the Rangers last season.
"The problem for all our defensemen is they are stuck in roles they are not used to," Boucher said. "It's real tough to evaluate our defensive game because we got guys in slots they're not used to. Our guys are good when they're in their slots.
Going by what we've seen in practice, the defensive pairings will be Gilroy and Brewer, Pavel Kubina and Marc-Andre Bergeron, and Brett Clark and Bruno Gervais.
On the other hand, Tampa Bay has played very well defensively at home because of help from the forwards. That five-man game will be crucial tonight against the highest scoring team in the league led, right now, by Jaromir Jagr, who has six goals and five assists in a seven-game points streak tied for the league's longest current.
"He's dominant," Boucher said. "He's absolutely dominant out there. He's big. He has incredible reach through traffic. He can see the play. He's got someone on his back, it's like a fly on his back. You can see he's pretty happy to be back in the NHL and he hasn't missed a beat."
Other stuff from the morning skate: Steve Downie will take injured Ryan Malone's spot on a line with center Steven Stamkos and Teddy Purcell, and on the first power play. The third line might be center Dominic Moore with Tom Pyatt and Nate Thompson. If that shakes out, the fourth line might be center Blair Jones with Adam Hall and Ryan Shannon. ... Dwayne Roloson will get the start in net. ... Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger is expected to return after being hit with a stick blade near his right eye on Oct. 24 against the Maple Leafs. He likely will wear a visor. ... Nothing new on Ohlund. He still is skating easily on his own with no abrupt starts or stops and there is no timetable for his return, though it was originally believed his rehab from the early October knee surgeries would take about eight weeks. "Right now he's on schedule but we don't really know what it's going to look like when he comes back, so we don't want to set a date," Boucher said. "The surgery he had went fine, but the doctors told us it could take that much time, more or less."