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Lightning gets back down to work for Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Marty St. Louis usually is one of the earliest on the ice before a Lightning practice.

On Monday, though, the captain made sure he was out there first.

He was making a point.

"We came to work," he said.

A couple of things were at play at the Toyota Sports Center. It was Tampa Bay's first practice since Saturday's awful 6-3 loss to the Coyotes. It also was the day after the annual "rookie dinner," in which rookies, as a rite of passage, pick up the tab for the entire team.

As coach Jon Cooper acknowledged with a chuckle, "(Sunday) was a well-deserved day off, and I believe they used it to the full extent of their capabilities."

Lightning players paid back that privilege with a crisp, 75-minute workout designed to remind them what they did wrong against Phoenix and what will be needed to beat the Kings tonight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The theme was to play with speed and energy. Many of the drills included a continuous back-and-forth from one end of the ice to the other. If players slowed down, assistant coach Rick Bowness, smacking his stick on the ice or the side boards, exhorted them to pick it up.

In one drill, three players against no defenders were challenged to score three times on goaltender Ben Bishop quicker than three players on the other end of the ice shooting against goalie Anders Lindback.

The point was to work fast, screen goalies and compete.

"Just battle, work hard," center Tyler Johnson said. "That's really all you can control, your effort level. We didn't have that last game, so I think that's what (Cooper) was trying to do."

"You look at the games where we've had success and that's the way we played," right wing B.J. Crombeen said, "a fast game when you're up and down the ice real quick. We're stopping in front of the net, playing a full 200-foot game. We know we have to get back to that."

One thing the Lightning hadn't done as of this morning was look at video of the loss at Phoenix.

Perhaps they will take a look before facing the Kings, Crombeen said. But Cooper on Monday seemed more inclined to move forward than back; easier to do when your team is 14-6-0 and on top of the Eastern Conference.

"I'm not dwelling on one game," Cooper said. "We've had a pretty darn good start to our season."

And a pretty good practice Monday after an evening of what left wing Ryan Malone called "team bonding."

"We wanted to go to work and they really did," Cooper said. "I was very happy with their effort."

"We know we didn't play a good game," St. Louis said about losing to the Coyotes. "We just have to answer it."

Medical matters: Defenseman Victor Hedman did not practice Monday. The team said he was under the weather. … Defenseman Mark Barberio (left hand/arm) practiced with no apparent restrictions. … Defenseman Keith Aulie (upper body) and forward Tom Pyatt (broken collarbone) practiced wearing red no-contact jerseys.

Lightning gets back down to work for Kings 11/18/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 12:45am]
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