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Mathieu Roy called up as injuries persist for Tampa Bay Lightning

Mathieu Roy is called up from AHL Norfolk to help a roster that will continue to miss Simon Gagne, who was injured Oct. 21.

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Mathieu Roy is called up from AHL Norfolk to help a roster that will continue to miss Simon Gagne, who was injured Oct. 21.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Injuries dominated the conversation after Monday's Lightning practice at the Ice Den, and with the list not liable to shrink any time soon, D Mathieu Roy was called up from AHL Norfolk.

"We want to make sure we have enough guys here," coach Guy Boucher said.

Boucher said he no longer expects LW Simon Gagne to join the team on its nine-day, four-game road trip that lasts through Saturday. Gagne, out four games, is being treated for a neck strain, though given his concussion history, he continues to be tested for that malady.

In addition to two MRI exams, Gagne, hurt Oct. 21 when checked into the boards by the Islanders' Michael Grabner, has seen a neurologist and took a neuro-psyche test, both of which were negative, head athletic trainer Tommy Mulligan said.

"Nothing has pointed us in any direction but that," Mulligan said of a neck strain. "He did have some improvement, which is good, so we're just going to continue the same plan right now."

C Dominic Moore, out for two games with a groin injury, had an MRI exam Monday, and D Matt Smaby, using a walking boot on his right foot, is being treated for a sprained ankle despite an X-ray indicating a small fracture line.

Mulligan said the line might be an old injury because it is not where Smaby is feeling pain.

"There's a chance it's new, but we're not treating it as that," Mulligan said. "We're treating it as an ankle sprain."

Roy up: Smaby's injury left Tampa Bay with six available defensemen, including Mattias Ohlund (knee), who played 19:59 on Saturday in his second regular-season game but still is getting into shape and was allowed to sit out Monday's practice. Enter Roy, 27, one of the last cuts out of training camp, who has two goals, eight points for the Admirals.

Playoff bound?: The NHL points out seven of the past 12 Stanley Cup champions led their conferences entering November. Good news for the Lightning (7-2-1), which hasn't been to the playoffs since 2007 but leads the East with 15 points.

Conference leaders on Nov. 1 only twice in the past 24 years missed the playoffs: the 1993-94 Flyers and 1988-89 Maple Leafs.

Power-play struggles: The power play entered Monday fourth in the league at 23.9 percent but just 3-for-21 in its past five games, including 1-for-17 five-on-four.

Teddy Purcell will take Ryan Malone's spot on the first unit. Malone, there in place of Gagne, will go to the second with rookie Mattias Ritola, who on Saturday against the Coyotes scored his first NHL goal.

"We know he's got skill," Boucher said of Ritola. "He's got very good vision. He's a heavy guy. He's strong on the puck. He's got the qualities to play on the power play, for sure."

Beyond personnel, Boucher said the power play simply has trouble setting up. "We waste, I'd say, 80 to 85 percent of our power play getting in with no timing, trying to fancy it up close to the blue line. That's where we kill our momentum."

"Your breakout, your neutral zone, your entry, your speed into the zone, your battles in the corners, all that is the power play," he added. "So, if you don't invest in the rest, you've got a bad power play, and the last two games I didn't like the way we invested in the power play. We were softer on the power play than we were five-on-five."

Odds and ends: D Pavel Kubina said he has not heard from the NHL about his knee-to-knee hit with Phoenix's Keith Yandle. … After practice the team went to a go-kart track.

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

Mathieu Roy called up as injuries persist for Tampa Bay Lightning 11/01/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 1, 2010 10:42pm]
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