30 seconds with ...
RW Richard Panik
Late-night snack: M&M's
Must-see TV: Big Bang Theory
If you didn't play hockey: I'd be a tennis player.
Describe your golf game: I'm not good. I can hit it but maybe, like, once out of five.
Celebrity crush: Mila Kunis
Early in the third period of Thursday's game with the Flames, Lightning assistant coach Steve Thomas took a puck off the right cheek that opened a three-stitch cut.
In the second period Tuesday against the Canadiens, a puck flew into the bench and missed Thomas' head by inches. "I had no idea the puck was coming," he said.
In both instances, the circumstances were the same. He had his head down while speaking to a player.
"I spoke to (Flames assistant) Jacques Cloutier, and he said he's been hit a couple of times on the bench," Thomas said. "He said the only time you should be talking to players is between shifts and between whistles. Keep your eye on the puck and see the game at all times because you never know. It's just having an awareness, especially when you have no equipment on."
Behind the scenes
Lightning owner Jeff Vinik is a visible part of the community though his charitable donations and real estate acquisitions around the Tampa Bay Times Forum. But when it comes to running the team, Vinik stays in the background. "It is purposeful," he said. "I don't have the expertise, knowledge, experience to meddle in hockey operations. My most important decision was hiring the guy (GM Steve Yzerman) I think is one of the best in the business at doing that."
He's even low key when he watches home games from his suite and road games on TV. "I get excited when we score, especially at an important time," Vinik said, "but I'm pretty level."
Quote to note
"I feel like I've been playing well, and it's been a good opportunity, so it's unfortunate the timing of it. But hopefully it's not too long and I can get back and help the team make a good playoff push."
— Defenseman Mike Kostka, on the concussion he sustained Tuesday by an elbow to the jaw from Montreal's Douglas Murray
Teammates of the day
Tampa Bay's Tyler Johnson, with 23 goals, and Ondrej Palat, with 20, are the first rookie teammates to reach 20 goals since Chicago's Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in 2007-08, the Elias Sports Bureau says.