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Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher shakes up lineup vs. Florida Panthers

SUNRISE — Lightning coach Guy Boucher shook up his lineup Saturday night against the Panthers, with wings Teddy Purcell and Ryan Shannon healthy scratches.

Boucher had benched Purcell for the third period of Thursday's 5-1 loss to the Islanders, disappointed he wasn't involved enough in battles.

"Last game I just didn't move my feet and obviously got away from … what coach wants us to do," Purcell said. "I have no one to blame but myself."

Boucher said Shannon, in his first season with Tampa Bay after signing as a free agent in the offseason, is doing fine, he's just having trouble adjusting to the Lightning's system.

Shannon said sitting out "doesn't make me feel good" but acknowledged he has to improve.

"It's just a lot of little things when it comes to when you have space and time (to make a play)," Shannon said. "It's just about … figuring out when you can be dangerous and when you just live to fight another day."

Boucher replaced them with Blair Jones and Tom Pyatt, saying they bring the necessary work ethic and defensive reliability, and can be relentless. That's what Boucher wants to see more from out of Purcell, who was expected to have a large role this year on the second line following a breakout postseason (17 points) and signing a two-year, $4.725 million deal in the offseason.

"I guess it's hard as a pro to get back to where you were when you last finished," Purcell said. "I just have to do a better job of getting that emotion level back up and find my game like I did in the playoffs."

Said Boucher: "When he competes, he's an outstanding player. When he doesn't compete, he's below average. … It's one or the other. … You've got to be involved in the battles. Right now I think he's thinking too much."

LINING UP: D Matt Gilroy was back in the lineup, taking the spot of Bruno Gervais. Boucher said who gets to play will be a daily decision. Sometimes both could play. Rookie wing Brett Connolly played on a line with C Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis for the second straight game.

REMEMBER ME? Panthers LW Sean Bergenheim, a Lightning playoff star last season with nine goals, has fit in well on Florida's third line. And he'll never forget the day he signed his four-year, $11 million free-agent deal with the Panthers. It was July 2, also the day he married his wife, Vilma, in downtown Helsinki, Finland. "I signed the contract at 5 a.m. Finnish time … went to bed around 6, woke up at 9 and got married the same day," he said. "But I wasn't tired, I can tell you that."

QUOTE TO NOTE: When asked what C Nate Thompson brings to the second line, Boucher put it simply: "He represents exactly what we're supposed to be. He's fast, he's gritty, he's smart with the puck, he's incredible defensively. He's everything you want in a player, so it doesn't matter where he plays."

ticket update: Saturday night, 1,500 tickets were left for Monday's home opener against the Panthers at the St. Pete Times Forum, the team said. Check Ticketmaster (outlets, ticketmaster.com, toll-free 1-800-745-3000).

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher shakes up lineup vs. Florida Panthers 10/15/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 15, 2011 8:23pm]

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