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Tampa Bay Lightning looks at free-agent defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron for power-play help

Free-agent defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron had seven goals and 22 points on the power play for Montreal last season.

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Free-agent defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron had seven goals and 22 points on the power play for Montreal last season.

UNIONDALE, N.Y — The Lightning wants to make a potent power play even better. The agent for free agent D Marc-Andre Bergeron said Wednesday that he has spoken to Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman, and Yzerman said he has "some interest."

"I'm always looking at ways to improve the team," Yzerman said. "He's a good power-play guy."

"They are doing their homework about Marc-Andre, and I am doing it about them," agent Paul Corbeil said. "I think it would be a good match."

On several levels.

The Lightning does not have a true quarterback on its power play that tallied twice in a 4-2 against the Islanders on Wednesday, though LW Marty St. Louis has handled the job admirably of late. Of Bergeron's 13 goals and 34 points in 60 games last season for Montreal, seven goals and 22 points were with the man advantage.

Bergeron also knows Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher and assistants Martin Raymond and Dan Lacroix, who worked last season for Montreal's AHL affiliate in Hamilton, where Bergeron played three games.

But here's the catch:

Bergeron, 30, who made $750,000 last season, is coming off surgery to the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Corbeil said Bergeron is to be examined next week and could be cleared to resume full contact practices by the beginning of December.

In other words, the price must be right for the Lightning to gamble on an injured player, and adding Bergeron to any roster — Corbeil said he is speaking to several teams — is not imminent. "I'm sure he could be a good asset for the Lightning," Corbeil said. "They're a good team. I think it would be a very nice fit with Guy Boucher and the coaching staff."

MUCH IMPROVED: Nothing is official — and the final call is up to Simon Gagne, who has missed 12 games with a neck strain — but the left wing might return Saturday at Buffalo. More likely though, is Monday at home against the Bruins or Wednesday against the Rangers.

INJURY BUG: D Victor Hedman missed about seven minutes of the second period Wednesday with an upper-body injury. LW Mattias Ritola missed most of the third with a recurrence of an inner-ear balance issue.

BAD HIT: Ritola deserved the five-minute major penalty he received in the second period when he not only checked Matt Moulson from behind into the boards, he left his feet and hit Moulson with an elbow in the back of the head.

Ritola was not available for comment, and Boucher sounded as if supplemental discipline by the league was possible.

"If it's a hit that deserves suspension, you have to live with what you do," Boucher said. "I know him. He's not a cheap-shot guy at all. He's a skill guy. If it's a bad hit, it's a bad mistake."

ODDS AND ENDS: C Steven Stamkos' first-period goal was the 3,600th in Lightning history. ... LW Sean Bergenheim, who spent five seasons with the Islanders, played for the first time at Nassau Coliseum since signing with the Lightning as a free agent in the offseason. … D Matt Smaby was scratched.

.tonight

Lightning at Flyers

When/where: 7; Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia

TV/radio: Sun Sports, NHL Network; 620-AM

Key stats: The Lightning entered Wednesday third in the league with an average 27.2 shots allowed and tied for third with an average 32.7 shots taken. … The Flyers, 9-1-1 in their past 11 games, had a league-best five shorthanded goals. … Philadelphia G Sergei Bobrovsky is tied for second in the league lead with 11 victories. … Tampa Bay is 2-2-0 in the second of back-to-back games.

Tampa Bay Lightning looks at free-agent defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron for power-play help 11/17/10 [Last modified: Thursday, November 18, 2010 12:11am]
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