Lightning's Crombeen takes NHL fights lead

B.J. Crombeen of the Tampa Bay Lightning fights with Marc Methot of the Ottawa Senators in Saturday’s game.

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B.J. Crombeen of the Tampa Bay Lightning fights with Marc Methot of the Ottawa Senators in Saturday’s game.

OTTAWA — B.J. Crombeen had two fights Saturday against the Senators, giving the Lightning right wing a league-most 12 for the season.

His bout with 5:20 left in the first period with Matt Kassian was as much about trying to give Tampa Bay, down 2-0, a spark as about Kassian trying to rough up rookie Cory Conacher.

But his second-period fight with D Marc Methot was personal. Crombeen said he believed Methot's hip check clipped his knee. Crombeen got 17 minutes in penalties: two for instigating, five for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct.

"You don't want to be putting the team down," Crombeen said. "But you don't want to let them think that's okay. In the moment, it's a heat-of-the-battle thing. You try to do what you can to stay composed and stay within your game and make decisions that aren't hurting the team."

The Lightning survived Ottawa's two-minute power play, and Crombeen got plaudits from C Steven Stamkos, who bemoaned the team's lack of urgency in the game, especially in the first period, which it ended down 4-0 on the way to losing 5-3.

"Except for Crombeen," Stamkos said. "You can't expect him to go out there and fight everyone on their team, although he would."

"It's a thing when you have to stand up and stick together as a team and a group," Crombeen said.

THOMPSON CONTRACT: C Nate Thompson agreed to a four-year contract extension through 2016-17 worth $6.4 million. He is making $850,000 this season. "It was important to get him locked up," GM Steve Yzerman said. "He's part of our future."

Thompson, 28, has six goals and 10 points in 31 games, is a primary penalty killer, has won 50.8 percent of his faceoffs and leads the team with 61 hits.

"To show that confidence Steve has in me is a great feeling," said Thompson, acquired in January 2010 off waivers from the Islanders. "I love this organization. I love the core group of guys. It's just a great fit for me and a no-brainer."

CLEARED: D Brian Lee cleared waivers and is expected to be assigned to AHL Syracuse when D Andrej Sustr, out of the University of Nebraska-Omaha, reports this week.

It has been a difficult season for Lee, 25, who during the summer signed a two-year, $2.3 million contract. He has zero points and is minus-13 in 22 games and a scratch in the past six.

"It's a learning process. I'm not giving up or writing him off by any means," said Yzerman, who acquired Lee in February 2012 from the Senators for D Matt Gilroy. "I believe there's something there. He's capable of playing in this league."

ODDS AND ENDS: Stamkos appeared hurt in the third when he hit the end boards while checking Methot. But he did not miss a shift and said after the game he was fine. … D Sergei Gonchar's assist on Daniel Alfredsson's first of two goals gave him assists in 10 straight games, a Senators record. … Ottawa's 25 home points (11-2-3) are most in the Eastern Conference. … Lightning D Marc-Andre Bergeron and RW Pierre-Cedric Labrie also were scratched.

Lightning's Crombeen takes NHL fights lead 03/23/13 [Last modified: Saturday, March 23, 2013 11:56pm]

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