Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning's injured Vinny Lecavalier returns to practice, will travel

TAMPA — If all goes to plan, captain Vinny Lecavalier will play on the Lightning's three-game road trip that starts Monday in Philadelphia.

The center, wearing a red no-contact jersey, skated Saturday for the first time with teammates since fracturing his right hand Feb. 18 against the Capitals. "It felt a little better," Lecavalier said. "But the strength in the hand is not there yet."

Even so, "when I'm ready to play, I want to play," he said. "That's why I'm joining the team (on the road trip). I don't want to set any dates, but I want to start practicing with the team and get the feel of the game. I want to play as soon as possible."

Lecavalier, 31, has missed 15 games since taking a puck off the back of his hand, breaking the bone next to one that had to be surgically repaired last season.

Lecavalier has 21 goals and 46 points in 58 games and an average 19:04 of ice time, so his absence left a huge hole in the lineup, forcing players such as Steven Stamkos, Marty St. Louis, Teddy Purcell and Ryan Malone to play extra minutes.

That only eight games are left raises the question of whether to just shut Lecavalier down, a notion the player and coach Guy Boucher shot down. "Our mentality," Boucher said, "is every game we want to put our best team on the ice."

"The guys have been working so hard, so as soon as I'm ready, I want to play, even if there's seven, five, three games," Lecavalier said.

WHAT'S IN A LOGO? The NCAA banned North Dakota from using its Fighting Sioux nickname and Indian-head logo during NCAA-sanctioned events, including the national playoffs that conclude with the Frozen Four at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. "It's disappointing on a personal level," said D Mike Commodore, who played for UND from 1997-2000. "I was proud to play for the Fighting Sioux."

But D Brian Lee, a Fighting Sioux from 2005-07, said because the nickname and logo prevent in some cases North Dakota teams from playing opponents who believe the monikers are demeaning to American Indians, it's time to "move on."

"For the sake of the other sports, you have to make a choice," Lee said.

20 STRAIGHT: Alex Picard's goal with 6:55 left in the third period was the winner as AHL Norfolk extended its league-record winning streak to 20 games, 4-3 over Albany.

ODDS AND ENDS: Tampa Bay blocked 25 shots against the Islanders. … G Dwayne Roloson played his 600th NHL game. … There was a big ovation for the USF men's basketball team in attendance. … Commodore, forwards Nate Thompson (upper body), Ryan Shannon (shoulder) and Adam Hall (upper body), and G Mathieu Garon (groin) were the scratches.

Comments
The key stat for Lightning-Capitals Game 7? Score first

The key stat for Lightning-Capitals Game 7? Score first

As the Lightning and Capitals prepare for their series finale Wednesday night at Amalie Arena in Tampa, here's a by-the-numbers look at each team's Game 7 history.5-2The Lightning's record in Game 7s. It has never lost at home (3-0).+5The Lightning's...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay’s Game 7 to-do list

Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay’s Game 7 to-do list

TAMPA — By now there are no more secrets. After six games over 11 days, the Lightning knows all the Capitals' habits , and the Caps know all the Lightning's.To Lightning coach Jon Cooper the outcome of tonight's Game 7 of the Eastern Conference...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning journal: You gotta love Game 7s

Lightning journal: You gotta love Game 7s

TAMPA — Welcome to Game 7, the most fun a player can have if he's fortunate enough to play in one. At least, that is how Lightning D Anton Stralman sees tonight's Eastern Conference final finale."I take pleasure in playing a Game 7," Stralman s...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay’s Game 7 Mr. Essential

Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay’s Game 7 Mr. Essential

TAMPA — He's the Lightning's best player. He's its most important player.Well, other than goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. That's a given. Every team relies most heavily on its goalie.But if the Lightning is going win a nerve-racking, heart-stopping,...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Lightning squanders chance to close out Capitals

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Lightning squanders chance to close out Capitals

The Lightning misses an opportunity to close out the Capitals in Washington, so there will be a Game 7 in Tampa on Wednesday night with a berth in the Stanley Cup final on the line.Andrei Vasilevskiy was fantastic, but the Lightning couldn't match th...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Game 7 odds and ends as you wait for Lightning-Capitals on Wednesday

Game 7 odds and ends as you wait for Lightning-Capitals on Wednesday

For the 33rd time in NHL history, a Stanley Cup semifinal series is headed to a Game 7, where the home teams are 21-11.The Lightning and Capitals meet Wednesday night at Amalie Arena in a win-or-go home game to decide who plays Vegas in the Stanley C...
Published: 05/22/18
Stanley Cup final schedule: Tampa Bay-Washington winner vs. Vegas

Stanley Cup final schedule: Tampa Bay-Washington winner vs. Vegas

Here's the schedule for the Stanley Cup final, which starts Monday — in Tampa Bay if the Lightning wins Wednesday and in Vegas if it doesn't:Lightning-Capitals winner vs. Golden Knights(All games on NBC at 8 p.m. ET)Monday, May 28Wednesday, May...
Published: 05/22/18
How to watch Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals Game 7: Game time, TV, live stream

How to watch Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals Game 7: Game time, TV, live stream

There will be a Game 7 in Tampa Wednesday because the Capitals "were the more desperate team," because Alex Ovechkin was running over Lightning players all night Monday in Washington and because Caps goalie Braden Holtby played to perfection.Washingt...
Published: 05/22/18
Lightning-Capitals: Washington forces Game 7 with 3-0 victory

Lightning-Capitals: Washington forces Game 7 with 3-0 victory

WASHINGTON — The Lightning let one get away Monday night. And it might cost Tampa Bay a chance at the Stanley Cup.So now there will be a Game 7 to decide the Eastern Conference. Maybe this is how it should be. Maybe this is how it's supposed to...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18
Lightning journal: Capitals had a shot at Jon Cooper

Lightning journal: Capitals had a shot at Jon Cooper

WASHINGTON — Interesting how things work out in the world of hockey.Back in 2012, the first NHL team to ever interview Jon Cooper for a head coaching job was actually the Washington Capitals. The Caps general manager at the time was George McPh...
Published: 05/21/18