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Tampa Bay Lightning trying not to rush Marc-Andre Bergeron to help power play

TAMPA — The Lightning's sputtering power play — on a 3-for-35 streak — does not increase the pressure to bring up power-play specialist Marc-Andre Bergeron from AHL Norfolk, coach Guy Boucher said.

The newly signed defenseman is with the Admirals getting into game shape and testing his surgically repaired right knee.

"Bergeron is a whole separate thing in that he has to get back his game," Boucher said. "As much as I would want him for the power play, he's not ready to play on the NHL level right now. It's not even an issue."

What can Boucher do to shake things up? For one, he ended the experiment of using five forwards on a unit and will put at least one defensemen on the blue line — a rotation of Victor Hedman, Brett Clark and Pavel Kubina — to guard against shorthanded goals. Tampa Bay has allowed nine, tied with the Sabres for league worst.

Beyond that, C Vinny Lecavalier said, "We have to shoot more, just be more aggressive. It's always probably the same answer, but you have to get back to the basics, and then you can make some better plays."

Against Columbus, the power play had a goal in four tries.

Desjardins hurt: Norfolk G Cedrick Desjardins, impressive with Tampa Bay in wins Dec. 30 and Jan. 1, is sidelined with an undisclosed upper-body injury sustained Sunday against Charlotte. G Jaroslav Janus is up from ECHL Florida.

CLOSE CALL: Tampa Bay was lucky the Blue Jackets did not take a 2-0 first-period lead, but Chris Clark's apparent goal was waved off because he nudged the leg of G Dwayne Roloson as he scored off a scramble.

"I'm still not really sure what the rule was," Clark said. "The referee tried to explain it to me, but it didn't make much sense. Oh, well, we still had a lot of game to go at that point."

Blame: Boucher said Friday-Saturday losses to the Devils and Hurricanes are on him because he did not follow his instincts to give Thursday off to tired players, who have played a league-high 27 road games.

"It was a mistake on my part," he said. "I had no practice but at the last moment changed my mind. There were a few things urgent to practice. We improved those things very well. The problem was our smarts and attention to detail weren't there because the guys were tired."

Line up: Boucher once said W Ryan Malone is miscast on a third line. But with Steve Downie playing with C Steven Stamkos and Simon Gagne, and Sean Bergenheim with Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis, Malone began Tuesday on a third line with C Dominic Moore and Teddy Purcell.

"I'm looking for speed with Vinny and Marty, and Bergenheim is bringing that," Boucher said. "I'm looking for size with Purcell and Moore."

Odds and ends: Lecavalier played his 900th NHL game and said, "I believe I will be (with Tampa Bay) the rest of my career." … St. Louis' assist on Stamkos' second goal was the 450th of his career. … Hedman has one assist in four straight games. … Purcell, with one goal in 16 games, played after Saturday's healthy scratch. … Roloson, after working out fit issues, wore his Thor-inspired helmet. … F Mattias Ritola and D Matt Smaby were scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning trying not to rush Marc-Andre Bergeron to help power play 01/18/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 12:31am]

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