nhl playoffs

Tampa Bay Lightning on the hunt for Stanley Cup, Randy Jones' brace an original

Pieces to a puzzle

Tucked in the corner of the St. Pete Times Forum locker room, a silhouette of the Stanley Cup is mounted on a black background with the words "Hunt It Now" over the top, a reference to the team's postseason rallying cry.

The lower right corner of the silhouette is filled in with what looks like a piece of a Stanley Cup jigsaw puzzle. Every time the Lightning wins a playoff game, another piece of the puzzle will be added.

The puzzle has — surprise — 16 pieces, one for each win it takes to earn the Cup.

Brace yourself

Lightning assistant equipment manager Rob Kennedy and assistant athletic trainer Mike Poirier recently built a brace for D Randy Jones, out since March 7 with a high ankle sprain. The brace is two pieces of plastic that sandwich the ankle on the left and right of the shin. A third piece is hinged to the other two, allowing them to stay in place as the foot moves up and down. That supports the painful spot on the outside of Jones' left ankle.

"It's exactly what I needed," said Jones, right, who is available to play (but was scratched Monday) and wears the brace in practice.

Added Kennedy: "Mike (Poirier) said he's never seen a brace like that for hockey. I'd like to see how it holds up in a game."

Three stars

Penguins D Kris Letang: Letang was a presence on both ends of the ice, picking up two assists and five shots, while logging 24:32.

Lightning RW Marty St. Louis: St. Louis had two power-play goals to help the Lightning erase a 2-0 deficit. His second, 2:12 into the third, gave him three in the playoffs.

Penguins G Marc-Andre Fleury: Fleury wasn't as dominant as he was in his Game 1 shutout but had some impressive stops among his 25 saves.

Quote to note

"There's no other Marty in the league. He really analyzes every play. He knows which way every player shoots. He knows their habits. … He's a very smart player and I've learned so much from being around him the last three years." — Lightning W Ryan Malone on teammate Marty St. Louis

The series

Game 1, Penguins 3, Lightning 0: Pens G Marc-Andre Fleury wows.

Game 2, Lightning 5, Penguins 1: Lightning jumps on sluggish Penguins early.

Game 3, Penguins 3, Lightning 2: Pens respond fast after Lightning ties it.

Wednesday: at Tampa Bay, 7, Sun Sports

Saturday: at Pittsburgh, TBA #

Monday: at Tampa Bay, TBA * #

April 27: at Pittsburgh, TBA * #

* If necessary # Sun Sports or FSN

Games 4 and 7 on 970-AM Games 5 and 6 on 620-AM

Tickets

A limited number of club level seats remain for Game 4. Several hundred potentially unused team tickets might be available through Ticketmaster the afternoon of the game.

$30-$220. Available at the St. Pete Times Forum box office and via Ticketmaster: ticketmaster.com, outlets, toll-free 1-800-745-3000.

Tampa Bay Lightning on the hunt for Stanley Cup, Randy Jones' brace an original 04/19/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 7:11pm]

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