Thursday, February 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning's Boucher has lineup dilemma

TAMPA — Coach Guy Boucher faced a dilemma during the five-game winning streak on which the Lightning rode before Saturday's loss to the Rangers:

How do you get players such as RW Pierre-Cedric Labrie and D Marc-Andre Bergeron into the lineup without disrupting team chemistry or benching a player who doesn't deserve it?

"Every day I feel like putting them in," Boucher said before the game. "The problem I've got is we've won five in a row with this lineup. I've got nobody in there I can take out. It's really the fact that everyone that's been playing has done the job. No one has given me an excuse to pull them out."

Bergeron has played two of eight games for a total 14 minutes, 15 seconds. Labrie played only Jan. 21 against the Islanders, with 4:54 of ice time and five minutes in the penalty box.

"Labrie would have been great" against the Rangers, Boucher said, "big body, big team. But a guy like (RW Dana) Tyrell has been unbelievable. I hate to make other people pay just so the other one gets a share of the pie. I try to look for some excuse before I do that, but I don't have any."

"I take the positive side," said Labrie, 26, who was promoted from AHL Syracuse out of training camp. "I work out to get stronger, faster, so every time I jump out on the ice every day, I feel better and when they tell me I'm in, I'm all in. It's a different mind-set, but I learn so much."

LITTLE STEPS: Brendan Mikkelson was back on the ice two days after a scary crash into the end boards during Thursday's practice.

"I felt okay," said the defense­man, who skated Saturday morning, "a little sore but a lot better than (Friday)."

Mikkelson said he has only right-shoulder soreness and upper-body stiffness after sliding hard head- and shoulder-first into the boards and briefly being knocked unconscious.

"I got folded up there pretty good," Mikkelson said. "I think all the bones and joints just need a chance to decompress."

REMEMBER: As part of the Lightning's 20th anniversary celebration, there were video tributes during the first period for former Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella and former Lightning center Brad Richards, both with the Rangers.

"It's always going to be my first team and my first organization, no matter how many times or what day it is," said Richards, the MVP of the 2003-04 Stanley Cup playoffs for the title-winning Lightning.

Tortorella, as usual, declined to discuss the tribute or the resurgence of Lightning C Vinny Lecavalier, saying, "I don't talk about the other team."

About Lecavalier, one of his best friends, Richards said, "He looks great. We all know how things can open up for you and you see things differently when there's confidence and you feel like you're helping."

ODDS AND ENDS: C Steven Stamkos has an eight-game points streak, tied for the league best. … Stamkos' five-game goal streak tied the Sharks' Patrick Marleau for the league high. … RW Marty St. Louis has assists in five straight games. … RW B.J. Crombeen (left foot) was on crutches before the game. He played, and Boucher said he has no limitations. … G Henrik Lundqvist, who sat in favor of Marty Biron, had started 27 of the Rangers' past 28 games against Tampa Bay.

Comments
Lightning not planning to trade from current roster

Lightning not planning to trade from current roster

The rumor was that Senators superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson jokingly faked like he was going into the Lightning dressing room upon arriving for Thursday's game at the Canadian Tire Center.You can bet there were many Lightning fans that hoped Karls...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
U-S-A! U-S-A! Womenís hockey beats Canada for Olympic gold

U-S-A! U-S-A! Womenís hockey beats Canada for Olympic gold

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — The Americans' gold medal drought in women's hockey is finally over. They needed the first shootout in an Olympic women's final to do it, too.Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored a dazzling, triple-deke goal in the sixth ...
Published: 02/22/18
Ryan Callahan regaining his confidence for Lightning

Ryan Callahan regaining his confidence for Lightning

When the Lightning put wing Ryan Callahan back on the power play a month ago, there were many reasons for the move.With Ondrej Palat suffering a lower-body injury Jan. 20, Tampa Bay needed a replacement who was fearless in front of the net and a rele...
Published: 02/21/18
The entire Lightning team was sent to Syracuse late Tuesday. Really

The entire Lightning team was sent to Syracuse late Tuesday. Really

On Tuesday night, the entire Lightning team was reassigned to Syracuse.Well, more like re-directed.The team's charter flight from Washington D.C. was diverted around midnight Tuesday night due to fog in Ottawa, where the Lightning was headed for a Th...
Published: 02/21/18
Lightning claims Gabriel Dumont off waivers

Lightning claims Gabriel Dumont off waivers

The Lightning got F Gabriel Dumont back, claiming him off waivers Wednesday from Ottawa.Dumont, 27, was reassigned to AHL Syracuse, where he will provide a veteran presence. He's a potential callup option down the stretch for a bottom six role and fa...
Published: 02/21/18
Nikita Kucherovís trick shot sends Lightning past Capitals

Nikita Kucherovís trick shot sends Lightning past Capitals

WASHINGTON — There was some lighthearted debate in the Lightning dressing room Tuesday night about whether the latest dazzling breakaway move by Nikita Kucherov was a deliberate fake or a slip off the stick.Some teammates playfully gave the All...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/21/18
Could Detroitís Mike Green be next domino to fall at deadline?

Could Detroitís Mike Green be next domino to fall at deadline?

The Red Wings have started wheeling and dealing, shipping goalie Petr Mrazek to the Flyers for a package of conditional draft picks.That has shifted focus to a potential Lightning target, Red Wings defenseman Mike Green, who is expected to be moved b...
Published: 02/20/18
Trade rumors can weigh on NHL players as deadline approaches

Trade rumors can weigh on NHL players as deadline approaches

WASHINGTON — Tyler Johnson was as good as gone.Or so it seemed.The scuttlebutt around last year's trade deadline was that the Lightning center could be the piece headed elsewhere to land a top-four defenseman. Maybe Nashville? St. Louis?Then th...
Published: 02/19/18
Better ĎDí starts at home with Lightning

Better ĎDí starts at home with Lightning

TAMPA – The Lightning still might land that top tier defenseman it certainly needs by the Feb. 26 trade deadline. But if that player was wearing a Tampa Bay sweater Saturday, would the outcome against the Devils have been any different?The Ligh...
Published: 02/19/18
Rumor mill: What Lightning might do at trade deadline

Rumor mill: What Lightning might do at trade deadline

Reports and rumors involving the Lightning leading up to the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 26:Feb. 17A smaller move could pay big dividendsIf you look at the history of recent Stanley Cup champions, their pivotal moves were subtle, not splashy, the Time...
Published: 02/19/18