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Lightning's Lecavalier might need wrist surgery

Vinny Lecavalier is expected to play tonight after getting his left wrist examined in Philadelphia.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Vinny Lecavalier is expected to play tonight after getting his left wrist examined in Philadelphia.

SUNRISE — It is common to see Vinny Lecavalier ice his wrists after games. But the Lightning's star center always says he is just keeping up with bumps and bruises.

Perhaps, though, there is more.

Lecavalier's agent Kent Hughes said Friday that his client might need offseason surgery on the more troublesome left wrist that last summer underwent a previously unrevealed arthroscopic procedure to clean up "loose ends."

Even if surgery is not necessary, Hughes said it is likely Lecavalier will not play in next month's World Championships in Canada.

Lecavalier, who Thursday became the first Tampa Bay player to score 40 goals twice, did not fly Friday from Pittsburgh to Fort Lauderdale. Lecavalier had the wrist checked by Philadelphia orthopedist Lee Osterman, who performed the original surgery.

There was no immediate word on what the examination discovered. Hughes said he suspects the diagnosis for the immediate end of the season will be to "rest (the wrist) and see how it reacts."

Lecavalier, who did not return several phone messages, is expected to play tonight against Florida.

He has been hot with eight goals in six games after zero in the previous 12. He needs one point for consecutive 90-point seasons and 600 points in the NHL.

"It seems like last month I didn't think I would score again," Lecavalier said after Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Penguins. "But like I've said a million times, I'm lucky to have the wingers that I do.

"I kept shooting and got out of my little funk, and sometimes you get on a roll like that. It's all about confidence, and right now it's going well, I guess, with that."

More responsibility has fallen to Lecavalier in the faceoff circle as Brad Richards was traded and center Jeff Halpern is dealing with back and abdominal strains.

Lecavalier this season has won 48.4 percent of draws. He won 52 percent (11 of 21) against the Penguins after losing 15 of 25 Wednesday against the Sabres. Fifty percent is considered good.

"There are some guys I have trouble winning against. There are some guys I feel like I'm going to win every draw," he said. "The times that it's difficult, that's the times you have to try to bear down and get that 50 percent."

Healthy wrists probably would help.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@sptimes.com.

>>tonight

Lightning
at Panthers

When/where: 7; Bank­Atlantic Center, Sunrise

TV/radio: Sun Sports; 620-AM

Injuries: Tampa Bay — Ryan Craig, C (knee), Chris Gratton, C (hip), Brad Lukowich, D (hernia) and Paul Ranger, D (shoulder) are out; Jeff Halpern, C (abdominal strain) is day to day. Florida — Garth Murray, C (shoulder), Jozef Stumpel, RW (shoulder), Mike Van Ryn, D (wrist), Noah Welch, D (shoulder) and Richard Zednik, LW (neck) are out; Bryan Allen, D (hand) is day to day.

Key stats: The seventh of eight meetings, the series is 3-3. & The Panthers have not lost in regulation in eight games (7-0-1) while allowing just 10 goals. & Florida's Tomas Vokoun is 4-0-1 in his past five starts with a 1.55 goals-against average and .951 save percentage. & Ex-Lightning defenseman Jassen Cullimore leads Florida at plus-19. & The Lightning is on a 1-6-2 road streak. & Marty St. Louis has three goals and five assists in a six-game points streak. & The Panthers are 5-11-1 on Saturdays.

Lightning's Lecavalier might need wrist surgery 03/21/08 [Last modified: Sunday, March 23, 2008 10:57pm]

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