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Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Islanders fight at opening faceoff

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The Lightning wanted to make a statement it was not going to be pushed around in a building in which it had little recent success. The Islanders wanted to rev up their fans and each other after an opening loss to the Devils.

The result: both teams sent tough guys out for Monday's opening faceoff and one second into the game Tampa Bay's Pierre-Cedric Labrie fought Joe Finley and B.J. Crombeen tangled with New York's Matt Martin.

"We knew we needed to win this one," Martin said, "and we wanted to do whatever we could to get the crowd going and get our teammates going."

"He looked at me during the national anthem and I was planning on looking at him, too," Crombeen said of Finley. "Both sides were ready and willing, and it was something that was going to happen. We're not going to let teams push us out of their building. If we have to do that, we'll happily do that."

Both sides believed the fracas did its job.

Martin said the agitated Nassau Coliseum crowd was like "a sixth man for us," and Stamkos gave kudos to Crombeen and Labrie because they "answered the call."

"We didn't want to look horrible the way we have the last few years here," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "We wanted to bring some emotion from the start."

1,000 AND COUNTING: C Vinny Lecavalier became the 280th NHL player with 1,000 games and just the 49th with 1,000 games with one team.

"To play for the same team for so many years is definitely very special," said Lecavalier, 32, in his 14th season. "I tell this to everybody, I feel like Tampa is my home now. I want to be here forever."

The Lightning will honor Lecavalier's milestone during Friday's game with the Senators at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. For Lecavalier, it will be game 1,002.

PROSPECT OUT: D Slater Koekkoek, picked No. 10 overall at the June draft, will have surgery on his left shoulder. With a recovery time of four to six months, he is done for the season.

Koekkoek, 18, a defenseman with Windsor of the junior Ontario Hockey League, was limited to 26 games in 2011-12 because of a torn labrum in the left shoulder. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said the surgery that repaired that injury "failed."

MINOR MOVE: The Lightning acquired F Jean-Francois Jacques from the Panthers for future considerations. Jacques, 27, has played 166 NHL games, all but six with the Oilers, and is expected to be assigned to AHL Syracuse. In 65 games last season with the Crunch, Jacques, 6 feet 3, 231 pounds, had 21 goals, 40 points and 95 penalty minutes.

ODDS AND ENDS: Classy move by the Islanders to acknowledge Lecavalier's 1,000th game on the scoreboard. … LW Cory Conacher's two assists give him a goal and four points in his first two NHL games. … The Lightning claimed C Nate Thompson off waivers from the Islanders three years ago Monday. … Defensemen Brendan Mikkelson and Marc-Andre Bergeron and RW Dana Tyrell were scratched. … Tampa Bay is 7-13-0 in road openers.

Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Islanders fight at opening faceoff 01/21/13 [Last modified: Monday, January 21, 2013 11:00pm]
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