PHILADELPHIA — It took negotiating between the teams and consultations with the league and the players association. But in the end, Lightning GM Brian Lawton said, "logic prevailed."
That means Friday's game between Tampa Bay and the Devils, suspended when a bank of lights at one end of the Prudential Center went on the fritz because of a bad circuit breaker, will resume at 6 tonight in Newark, N.J. The game will pick up with 9:12 left in the second and the Lightning ahead 3-0.
"All those things were discussed," Lawton said of perhaps resuming the game later in the season. "You want to play this one sooner. You want to play similar lineups. You don't want teams to have a competitive advantage." Devils GM Lou Lamoriello told the Canadian Press, "I don't think any of the alternatives were any better than the final alternative."
Both teams will be under similar duress. Both played Saturday (the Devils at Montreal), and both play Tuesday, meaning each will play three straight days and four of five. That the Lightning is still in the New Jersey area and has no other games there the rest of the season also were a considerations. "We're both here," Lawton said. "Let's do it."
Players are on board, said C Jeff Halpern, the Lightning's union representative. That is important because the players association, as a rule, will not approve a schedule with games on three straight days. But, as Halpern said, "It's a pretty special circumstance. … It was not an issue in the locker room."
Or with the union, spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon wrote in an e-mail: "After consulting with players on both teams, the NHLPA has agreed to allow the players to play on a third consecutive date on a one-time, non-precedent-setting basis in order to accommodate the extenuating circumstances."
Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said he is glad the game is today: "Would I like the guys to have a day off (today) and a good practice Monday for the Capitals? Yeah. But what's the alternative? Come back a month later? I'll give the guys a day off on Monday and deal with what we can deal with right now."
TV: Sun Sports will show the game feed from MSG network, which televises Devils games. Sun Sports is picking up part of what is believed to be $40,000 in production costs, spokeswoman Amy Pempel said.
SMABY HURT: D Matt Smaby left Saturday's game in the third, when he went shoulder first into the side boards after getting tangled up with the Flyers' Danny Briere. Smaby said he was "okay" but was unsure if he would play today.
MALONE OKAY: He received 16 stitches in the back of his right thigh Friday, when he fell on the tip of Devils G Martin Brodeur's skate, but LW Ryan Malone played Saturday and called the ugly gash "nothing at all."
WAIVER WIRE: F Martins Karsums is on waivers. If he clears at noon today, he could play in Europe, relieving Tampa Bay of his salary obligation.
ODDS AND ENDS: Halpern (lower body), out since Dec. 23, was back in the lineup earlier than expected. … D Andrej Meszaros, D David Hale and LW Stephane Veilleux were scratched.