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Tampa Bay Lightning wing Mark Parrish getting back up to speed

NEW YORK — Mark Parrish knows he will feel better. But after playing his first NHL game of the season, the Lightning wing admitted, "My lungs are still on the runway."

Parrish, called up Sunday from AHL Norfolk, played 13:53, had four hits and blocked a shot after an 8 a.m. flight allowed him to reach Madison Square Garden in time for the 1 p.m. game.

"My adrenaline was there to keep my legs moving," he said. "It was fun. It's great to be back."

Parrish, 33, a former NHL All-Star trying to rebuild his career, played 44 games for Norfolk under two tryout contracts and had 13 goals and 28 points before signing a prorated one-year deal with Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

The callup in the game before the Olympic break gave the team a taste of what Parrish can do as it evaluates moves it might make before the March 3 trade deadline.

"We have two weeks to regroup here and make some decisions," coach Rick Tocchet said.

Tampa Bay is desperate for secondary scoring as the line of C Steven Stamkos (10), LW Marty St. Louis (10) and RW Steve Downie (four) has combined for 24 of the team's past 32 goals.

Tocchet put Parrish on a line with C Vinny Lecavalier and LW Ryan Malone, both of whom are struggling.

Parrish did not get a shot, but he made a nice feed to Malone at the goal mouth, though Malone's shot was stopped by New York G Henrik Lundqvist.

"He did a nice job," Tocchet said of Parrish. "He tried."

"I didn't feel behind or overwhelmed by any means," Parrish said. "You're kind of used to having that extra second (in the AHL). Here, you don't have that. If you don't make the play right away, it closes down."

Streaking: Stamkos' 13-game points streak, with 10 goals and 13 assists, tied the team record set by Brian Bradley in November 1992 and matched by St. Louis and Vinny Prospal. … Downie has a career-best seven-game streak with four goals, five assists.

Smith's plan: In each of his past two starts, G Mike Smith allowed soft goals he called "backbreakers" that turned out to be the winners.

"It's got to stop," Smith said. "I'm going to regroup over this break and work with my (personal) goalie coach and get some confidence back."

"And no excuses," he said when asked if with only two starts since Jan. 12 — thanks to a strained neck and a hot run by Antero Niittymaki — he might be rusty.

"It's going to be a tough (Olympic) break thinking about (Sunday's) game, letting it slip away," he said. "It will make the two weeks go by very slowly."

Break: With teams not allowed to practice until Feb. 24, Tocchet said he might just shut off his cell phone and "decompress."

"I'm not telling anyone where I'm going," he said.

Tocchet said he gave that advice to his assistants: "I told them to take these nine days and just get away."

Odds and ends: The Lightning has been outscored 70-50 in the second period. … The Rangers were without RW Marian Gaborik (thigh) and D Michael Del Zotto (chest laceration). … Lightning RW Brandon Bochenski and D Matt Smaby were scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning wing Mark Parrish getting back up to speed 02/14/10 [Last modified: Sunday, February 14, 2010 9:45pm]
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