Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning shows new wrinkle on defense

ESTERO — It was tough to tell if the defensive system the Lightning practiced Tuesday was a radical change from the static 1-3-1 formation it has used so often or just, as D Eric Brewer said, "another club in the golf bag."

Either way, it was interesting to see a more aggressive forecheck and defensemen stepping up at center ice to try to force dump-ins.

"As a player," Brewer said, "you always like to keep moving."

The difference this season is more blue-line speed and experience. Matt Carle and Sami Salo were added as free agents. Brian Lee will be with the team the entire season and Victor Hedman is expected to have a breakout year.

That means an ability to be more aggressive in the offensive zone when opponents try to set up breakouts because of confidence the defense will react appropriately. Tampa Bay on Tuesday sent in a deep forechecker with another slightly back to force puck carriers to a side wall. A third patrolled near the blue line and read the play.

On the back end, one defenseman stepped up at the red line to challenge puck carries. The other chased down the hoped-for dump-ins.

Much different from the 1-3-1 system used last season, when the Lightning, with a much slower back line, many times waited for teams to come to it. Against the Flyers in November, that led to the teams basically staring at each other with Philadelphia at times refusing to move the puck out of its zone.

"Nothing drastic," Brewer said of the new system. "You're just always trying to pressure when you have numbers and be more aware when you don't. For us, it's just clarifying the areas you can be more aggressive."

IN NET: Coach Guy Boucher said he might not decide until Friday night whether to start Anders Lindback or Mathieu Garon in net in Game 1 Saturday at home against the Capitals.

"I'm just trying to let those guys get into game shape," said Boucher, who added, "Come Friday we'll make our decision not necessarily on what we see during the week, but more what our bigger plan is."

PYATT TIME: Tom Pyatt had two goals and three points for the White team in its 3-1 victory over the Blue in a scrimmage of two 20-minute halves.

The forward downplayed the effort, saying it came, after all, in a scrimmage. But Pyatt, who had a career-best 12 goals last season, including seven in his last 25 games, said confidence carries over.

"For me, it's just getting comfortable," he said. "I have more confidence and I'm ready to take on a bigger role."

For now, that appears to be on a third line, perhaps with Benoit Pouliot. The pair clicked Tuesday with each assisting on goals by the other.

"They've shown that they can do some damage," Boucher said.

LINEUP: C Vinny Lecavalier played between Cory Conacher and Teddy Purcell for a second straight day. The line of C Steven Stamkos and wings Marty St. Louis and Ryan Malone also seems set. Adam Hall has been centering a line with Nate Thompson and B.J. Crombeen. … On defense, the most consistent pairings have been Brewer and Carle, Hedman and Salo, Lee and Marc-Andre Bergeron, and Brendan Mikkelson and Keith Aulie.

ALL ON: All 48 games will be televised: 37 on Sun Sports, six on Fox Sports Florida and five — Feb. 5 and March 18 against the Flyers, and Feb. 24, March 4 and April 11 against the Penguins — shown nationally on NBC Sports Network.

ODDS AND ENDS: D Matt Taormina did not skate; "getting treatment" was what the team said. … Syracuse D Evan Oberg cleared waivers. … Syracuse F Richard Panik was suspended three games for a hit on Rochester F Zegmus Girgensons. … Practice is at 10:30 a.m. today.

Around the league

CANUCKS: David Booth, who has yet to take part in training camp, is out four to six weeks with a groin strain.

FLYERS: Center Claude Giroux was named captain. He takes over from defenseman Chris Pronger, who has not played since Nov. 19, 2011, due to multiple concussions.

RED WINGS: Forward Henrik Zetterberg was chosen as captain, replacing retired defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom.

OBITUARY: George Gund III, the original owner of the Sharks, died Tuesday after a battle with cancer, the team said. He was 75. Gund and his brother Gordon relinquished their ownership stake in the Minnesota North Stars in 1990 in exchange for the rights to an expansion team in San Jose.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Lightning shows new wrinkle on defense 01/15/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 9:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Durant's Cameron Myers now one of the state's elite RBs

    Footballpreps

    There will come a day when Cameron Myers is stopped, when opposing defenders gang up to prevent him from breaking off big gains.

    When? Who knows?

    Durant running back Cameron Myers breaks free for a 39-yard touchdown run against Newsome. (Scott Purks, Special to the Times)
  2. Check out what this former Buc has cooking in Buffalo

    Bucs

    Leonard Johnson is thrilled to extend his NFL career in Buffalo this season, but whenever his playing days are over, the former Bucs cornerback is ready for life after football.

    He's actually pretty excited.

    Buffalo Bills cornerback Leonard Johnson catches a pass during an NFL football training camp in Pittsford, N.Y., Saturday, July 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
  3. Koetter: Jameis Winston will test shoulder in practice Friday

    Blogs

    Will he? Won't he? It appears the Bucs' uncertainty over whether quarterback Jameis Winston can play through a shoulder injury Sunday at Buffalo will carry up until the final hours before kickoff.

    Jameis Winston didn't throw at practice Wednesday.
  4. Fennelly: Even frustrated Bucs fans hold out hope

    Blogs

    Many fans wrote back when I threw out an all-points the other day, asking if Bucs fans are perpetually in a state of expecting the worst.

    Bucs fans cheer during a preseason game against the Washington Redskins in August at Raymond James Stadium.
  5. Bucs snapper Garrison Sanborn looking forward to return to Bills

    Bucs

    Throughout his eight seasons with the Bills, whenever former players would come to Buffalo for a game, Garrison Sanborn remembers the place to take them for a reunion dinner was a popular Italian …

    Garrison Sanborn enjoyed just one winning season in eight years in Buffalo. [AP photo]