Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Coach's guidance works out for Tampa Bay Lightning wing Teddy Purcell

GLENDALE, Ariz. — During a recent meeting with Teddy Purcell, Lightning coach Guy Boucher said he would gladly give the right wing more ice time if he deserved it.

Boucher even gave Purcell some advice: move your feet and battle harder for pucks.

"Some guys are a lot more complex than that," Boucher said. "But in his case, because he has all the tools, it just comes down to that."

Purcell proved Boucher right on Friday with two goals in a 2-1 win over the Stars. He also scored Saturday against Phoenix.

"He's a big believer in first on the puck and fighting and working hard," Purcell said. "Sometimes, I get away from that."

Such as when he went 27 games, from Nov. 9 to Jan. 10, with two goals.

Since then, he has five goals in six games. His 12 goals put him on pace for a career-best 21.

Boucher said Purcell's overall game can be "unreal."

"He's got the skills. He's got the vision. He knows where to go on the ice," Boucher said. "But he brings the package when he's battling and his feet are moving."

"It's in my hands," Purcell said. "I have to take the challenge."

MALONE HURT: LW Ryan Malone left the game with 6:28 left in the first period with an upper-body injury Boucher said might keep him out of Tuesday's game with the Blue Jackets.

FIGHTING: GM Steve Yzerman saw Wayne Fleming at his Calgary home during the recent world junior championship and said the assistant, battling brain cancer, "has a great attitude."

"We had a good conversation," Yzerman said. "It's very difficult on him and his wife, but he's very determined and upbeat."

Yzerman reiterated he has no plans to hire another assistant.

YO-YO: D Evan Oberg is on his fifth callup from AHL Norfolk but has yet to play a game. He has, though, been exposed to the NHL environment.

"I've gained a lot of experience," said Oberg, who has been called up as insurance when injuries depleted blue line depth. "I know what to expect up here. I've taken a lot out of it."

"The first thing he can take is a different paycheck," Boucher said, joking about the gap between Oberg's salary in the minors ($65,000) and NHL ($875,000).

Seriously, though, "Any time you get an opportunity to practice and watch games played by (Marty) St. Louis, (Steven) Stamkos, (Vinny) Lecavalier and (Eric) Brewer, you learn so much," Boucher said. "I would have given anything back in the day to get a practice with those guys. He's getting many."

And getting comfortable.

"Confidence goes a long way at this level," Oberg said. "A lot of guys have the same skill set. But if you're confident … and don't question your abilities, it makes the game a lot easier. Every time I come up, I expect I'm going to play. If I get that call, I'm more than ready to show what I've got."

ODDS AND ENDS: Tampa Bay allowed its eighth shorthanded goal, second most in the league. … Yzerman was in Toronto scouting the Leafs and Canadiens. … Rookie LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie got his first NHL point with an assist on St. Louis' goal. … C Nate Thompson had a career-best 20:59 of ice time against the Stars. … Oberg, F Tom Pyatt (leg) and D Marc-Andre Bergeron (back) were scratched.

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