Tampa Bay Lightning probably without Sean Bergenheim for Game 7 with Bruins, then again ...
Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher did not sound encouraging Friday morning when asked about the availability of Sean Bergenheim for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final with the Bruins.
Bergenheim skated for about 15 minutes at the morning skate and participated in some drills. But he did not look to be nearly close to full speed. Boucher said Bergenheim, who was hurt in Game 5, had improved and will see doctors again, but called him "doubtful," though he "might" try to skate in warm-ups.
So, as bad as it sounds, Boucher did leave the door open a crack for Bergenheim, who is second in the playoffs with nine goals. Bergenheim did not make himself available to the media.
Boucher said Bergenheim's absence has given the Bruins "a little upper hand on that because they've got (Tyler) Seguin on their third line and (Mike) Ryder. And (Chris) Kelly is doing really well. And they've got (Rich) Peverley on the fourth line. First-line guy from another team on their fourth line, and that's where Bergenheim became extremely important for us in the previous series and this series where (Bergenheim's) line with (Steve) Downie and (Dominic) Moore played like a first line. It makes me juggle a little bit to try to find some chemistry. That is absolutely crucial in any of these playoff series."
Other stuff from the morning skate: As expected there was no league discipline against the Lightning or Bruins forward Nathan Horton because of the incident after Game 6 at the St. Pete Times Forum. After Tampa Bay's 5-4 win, fans threw rally drums onto the ice much like Bruins fans have tossed their yellow rally towels after a victory. Boston's David Krejci, wearing his helmet, even got beaned by one. Horton sprayed fans with water from a bottle as he left the ice and then threw the bottle into the stands. Neither Krejci nor Horton was available to comment before Game 7. But a couple players were able to joke about it. "They were throwing everything there," Bruins wing Mark Recchi said. "You'd rather not see it because they were hard objects. It's not like they were throwing towels on the ice." Added Lightning center Steven Stamkos: "Those things were pretty hard. Thank goodness they didn't hand out pucks that day. But it was fun. Everyone was caught up in the moment." ... Speaking of that, Stamkos said the atmosphere at the Times Forum was something he always will remember. "It was unbelievable," he said. "Our fans have been amazing. I've never experienced anything like that in my career." ... The Bruins power play has been so anemic in the playoffs (5-for-61 or 8.2 percent), the Bruins have started putting 6-foot-9 defenseman Zdeno Chara in front of the net. "It's only an advantage if we get pucks to the net," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I think that's the bottom line here. If you're going to put him in front, you might as well get some pucks to the net and find ways to do that. So, that's part of our process here, to move the puck around and create some shots." Recchi, too, said the power play is key: "It's an important piece of the puzzle. We've got an opportunity tonight in one game to erase all the junk we've done, really, the last three or four months." ... Recchi is without a point and with just five shots against the Lightning in this series. ... Good quote from Julien about relishing the Game 7 moment: "Our guys just have to enjoy this whole process. There are 27 teams right now that would love to have the opportunity that we have in the playoffs right now. This is one of those days where I think if you don't enjoy the moment, you're wasting a pretty precious day. You get ready, you get excited about it, you come out tonight and leave it all out there on the ice. Simple as that. Anything less than that is a waste of a day." ... Small but amusing moment in the hallway outside the Lightning locker room, where a Tampa Bay media representative was asked if Bergenheim might have anything to say about his situation. Media representative responds with, "I will ask." Lightning wing, Marty St. Louis, also in the hall working on his stick, turns and says, "He won't have anything to say." In other words, even if he did, he really didn't.