Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Mike Smith works on being a 'calming influence'

TAMPA — So, there was Lightning G Mike Smith on Saturday, behind the net, puck on his stick, deciding the best course of action.

Smith isn't afraid to try high-risk passes to move the puck up ice. And sometimes he gets into trouble with turnovers.

But Smith, who made 27 saves in the win over Atlanta, seemed content, for the most part, to wait for his defensemen to pick up the puck and move it to the forwards.

"They want me to take away those high-risk plays," Smith said Monday.

Goaltenders coach Frantz Jean, who said he was happy with Smith's "overall output and execution," does not want to inhibit his goalie. But if Smith is going to take a chance, Jean wants him to pick his spots. "We want him to utilize his tremendous ability with the puck, but in a smart way," Jean said. "We want high-efficiency plays, smart plays, instead of trying low-percentage plays that work once in a while."

"He wants me to be a calming influence back there and not try to do too much with it and make the simple plays," Smith said.

"It's a little different. But at the same time, we're trying to get out of our end as quick as we can. If it's me making the pass, it's fine, or the defense making a pass out of the zone, that's fine, too."

In net: Coach Guy Boucher said he has not figured out the order but indicated Smith and Dan Ellis will split the Wednesday-Thursday games at Montreal and Philadelphia.

Off the hook: Boucher had promised to look on video at the Lightning's six second-period penalties against the Thrashers and render a verdict.

Generally, Boucher said, his players were not guilty. "The (penalties) we saw that we didn't like, we addressed," he said, and added, smiling, "It was a short meeting."

Boucher has vowed to reduce Tampa Bay's penalties. The team last season led the league with an average 16.8 minutes a game and was second with 492 infractions.

"He's emphasizing smart penalties," D Randy Jones said. "There's a difference between smart penalties and dumb penalties. If you take a penalty because you're battling hard, that's one thing. If you're taking lazy penalties, not back-checking, just the hooking penalties, those have to go. They're not in our character."

One, not done: C Vinny Lecavalier said he didn't recall that it took him nine games last season to score his first goal. Still, the captain was pleased to score his first this season in Game 1.

"You get the first one and you keep on going," he said.

Donation: The Lightning Foundation donated $25,000 each to the Curtis/Kocab Memorial Fund and the Gold Shield Foundation.

The Curtis/Kocab fund supports the spouses of slain Tampa police Officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab. The Gold Shield Foundation provides financial support to families of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty in the Tampa Bay area.

Odds and ends: C Nate Thompson (groin) was held out of practice as a "preventative," the team said. … C Dominic Moore (groin) reported no ill effects from Saturday's game.

Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Mike Smith works on being a 'calming influence' 10/11/10 [Last modified: Monday, October 11, 2010 9:31pm]

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