Friday, April 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning coach Guy Boucher understands Vinny Lecavalier's stand

TAMPA — Vinny Lecavalier's fight Sunday against the Flyers' Luke Schenn was his 22nd NHL scrap, including playoffs, but his first since Feb. 3, 2009, against the Islanders' Tim Jackman.

That means coach Guy Boucher, who took over for the 2010-11 season, never had seen the captain fight.

Asked if he held his breath for a few seconds, Boucher answered, "A few seconds, how about the whole time?"

Asked if he would prefer his star players not fight, Boucher hedged.

"Obviously, when guys like that fight, the only thing I'm thinking about is not him winning, but him getting injured," he said. "But I can't think like that because players react to what's happening during a game and Vinny felt it was a moment where he needed to take a stand, and it had a huge effect on our players."

Lecavalier, 32, doesn't fight for the sake of fighting. Schenn challenged him after Lecavalier knocked him down with a check.

Because he broke his hand last season when struck by a puck, Lecavalier said he would rather not fight because "you never know what can happen. But in the moment you don't have time to think. If you're going to do it, you're going to do it."

"He did the right thing," Boucher said. "If he breaks his hand there I'm not happy, but in the long run it would have paid off because he was doing it for the right reason."

GOAL ORIENTED: With three goals on four shots in five games entering Tuesday, Eric Brewer was on pace for 30 goals, an eye-rolling stat for the defenseman, who joked, "It will end soon."

Brewer had only two goals in 104 previous games with the Lightning, but has three eight-goal seasons in his career.

He said in general of the defense that already has contributed seven goals, "I think we're going to be shooting for the sake of shooting and see where it goes."

NET EFFECT: G Mathieu Garon has played only one of six games despite being on a 13-3-2 streak that began last season and includes a 5-1 victory over the Hurricanes on Jan. 22 in which he made 35 saves.

But Garon, 35, said he understands the team is grooming Anders Lindback as the No. 1.

"Lindy is the guy and he gives us a chance to win every night," Garon said. "I'm here to help and play good when I play."

"You can't get a better athlete and person," Boucher said. "He's the ultimate professional."

Garon likely will play either Friday or Saturday as the Lightning plays back-to-back against the Jets and Rangers.

IN THE HOUSE: Former Lightning GM Jay Feaster, who now has the same job with the Flames, was at the game as part of Tampa Bay's 20th anniversary celebration.

"I love it here," said Feaster, who helped lead the Lightning to the 2004 Stanley Cup title. "I still bleed Tampa blue. I spent 10 years with this organization and we did some real good things, so this is always home."

ODDS AND ENDS: RW B.J. Crombeen, who missed Monday's practice with a bruised foot, played. … Defensemen Brendan Mikkelson and Marc-Andre Bergeron were scratched.

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