TAMPA — RW Marty St. Louis jokes now that when he was acquired by the Lightning in 2000, he would have been happy with 300 shifts in a Tampa Bay uniform.
After all, St. Louis was an undersized and undrafted forward who had to battle for everything in an impressive career that's included a Stanley Cup and league MVP award. That's why it meant a lot for St. Louis Saturday night to pick up his 300th career goal with the Lightning. He trails just C Vinny Lecavalier (361).
"I'm proud to stay I've been on the same team for 11 years now, you don't see it too much in today's game," St. Louis said. "If you told me 11 years ago I'd score 300 goals for this team, I would have paid money for that. Trying to find your way throughout a career and fight for a spot, fight for a place in this league and you have to earn it everyday. I guess 300 goals for me is longevity and I guess about being persistent."
St. Louis is just one of a dozen active NHL players who boast 300 goals with one team, with 10 still with that organization. Coach Guy Boucher said he has the "utmost respect" for guys who are so loyal to the same team, even with all the money available in today's game.
"You've got a perfect example of a guy who is here for the right reasons who has done the job from day one and continues to do it,' Boucher said of St. Louis. "I think Tampa Bay is extremely, extremely lucky to have such an individual. Not just a hockey player, such a man here."
MEDICAL MATTERS: RW Steve Downie (upper body) missed his second consecutive game Saturday against the Panthers. Boucher said his injury isn't concussion-related and is more of a precaution. "He could play," Boucher said. "We just want to be smart with this."
Downie will travel with the team on its two-game road trip this week. Boucher said D Mattias Ohlund (knees) might travel as well, though more for morale and less because he's ready to play.
DNA LINE: Dana Tyrell, Nate Thompson and Adam Hall, so successful as a line last season, picked up where they left off Friday against the Panthers, clicking despite being together for just one morning skate.
Boucher said the group has a special chemistry developed when they were put together "out of luck" in last year's preseason. They used their speed and grit to be relentless, and were a threat offensively and reliable defensively. Boucher said their play together was part of the reason Tyrell and Hall made last year's team, and why Thompson flourished.
Tyrell was called up from AHL Norfolk last week.
"I'm not going to scream to the world that our team has changed," Boucher said. "But the reality is that every piece of the puzzle that you put in that fits, you're advancing. I feel like (Friday), we advanced."
MISCELLANY: Boucher said D Victor Hedman, who played 29 minutes Friday and D Eric Brewer (26:08 Saturday) "slept on the ice," something they'll have to do as D Matt Gilroy and D Marc Andre-Bergeron battle through physical issues. … D Bruno Gervais was a healthy scratch.