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Marty St. Louis plays for Tampa Bay Lightning despite flu

ATLANTA — The streak is still alive.

Though there was doubt whether Lightning RW Marty St. Louis would play Sunday in his 426th consecutive game, the assistant captain found a way to stay in the lineup against the Thrashers and make an impact.

"He's a warrior," captain Vinny Lecavalier said.

It didn't look good early in the day, as St. Louis, battling the flu, did not travel with the team to Atlanta and missed the morning skate. Coach Guy Boucher said St. Louis had been throwing up throughout Saturday night and called head athletic trainer Tommy Mulligan at 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. Boucher said he found out about St. Louis' condition in a call from him before the 8:30 a.m. charter flight out of Tampa.

"I got (the call) coming to the airport," Boucher said. "He said, 'How you doing, Coach? I said, 'Good, and you?' 'Well, you might not feel so good after this.' Obviously it's Marty, so we need him."

St. Louis ended up taking a later commercial flight, arriving in the afternoon. He said the extra sleep and IV treatments helped. Though St. Louis said he wasn't his usual self on the ice, he picked up two assists, as well as a cut under his left eye from a high stick, an interesting end to a "weird 24 hours."

"You can look at it like, 'What a bad day,' " St. Louis said. "But, for me, it's a great day compared to how it started at midnight."

CASE CLOSED: Though C Nate Thompson and Thrashers LW Eric Boulton engaged in a back-and-forth a couple of weeks ago about Boulton's knee-to-knee hit on Thompson in their last matchup, they didn't anticipate it being an issue Sunday.

Thompson hyperextended his left knee on the Dec. 15 hit, which he believed was intentional and called "awful." Boulton said it was "100 percent unintentional," quipping, "Who's Nate Thompson?"

Sunday morning, Thompson said he considered the matter closed, especially with both teams battling for the top spots in the Southeast Division.

"He plays the game hard, we both said what we had to say in the heat of the moment," Thompson said. "I don't expect anything to happen. The teams are just going to go out and try to win. What's done is done. These are huge points, it's a battle for first place right now."

OUTSIDE THE BOX: Boucher said he has noticed teams playing more disciplined against the Lightning, partly to avoid Tampa Bay's power play, which entered Sunday ranked third in the league (24.2 percent).

"Very much so," Boucher said. "They look at the power play and they want to take that away because it is one of our weapons."

And the Lightning's lack of power-play chances during some games are not due to lack of effort, Boucher said.

"We're skating hard — we're probably skating harder now than we were ever," he said. "Teams are just not hooking us any more. They'd rather let us go with a bit of space rather than try to grab us."

MISCELLANY: D Matt Smaby was a healthy scratch. … With G Cedrick Desjardins with the Lightning while G Mike Smith (knee) recovers, G Jaroslav Janus was reassigned from ECHL Florida to AHL Norfolk.

Marty St. Louis plays for Tampa Bay Lightning despite flu 12/26/10 [Last modified: Monday, December 27, 2010 7:29am]
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