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Tampa Bay Lightning's Marty St. Louis adjusts to move to left wing

TAMPA — Marty St. Louis said he has played right wing "my whole life." No surprise, then, he called a recent switch to left wing "a work in progress."

"It's been an adjustment for me," St. Louis said Wednesday. "I'm trying to work on it."

"But he's still playing well and getting his points," coach Rick Tocchet said. "He understands. He's helping the team."

Against the Canadiens, St. Louis scored the Lightning's first goal in a 3-0 win.

The move this month was done for several reasons, Tocchet said. St. Louis' speed with the puck is magnified because, as a lefty on the left side of the ice, he can shield the puck. That creates opportunities for penalties.

"He's blazing through the neutral zone," Tocchet said. "He must have drawn five penalties because he's got the speed."

And when Tocchet put RW Steve Downie on a line with St. Louis and C Steven Stamkos, shifting the more experienced St. Louis was easier. "Just for the overall part of our club, it's better (St. Louis) is there," he said.

St. Louis said he has had to get used to different positioning in the defensive zone and changing his skating patterns on breakouts. Asked if the league's 2004 regular-season points leader and MVP resisted the move, Tocchet said, "The guy's won a couple of awards from the right side, so he's got some good arguments for me. … But he'll do whatever for the team."

FRESH START: C Nate Thompson, picked up on waivers Jan. 21, said nothing went particularly wrong during his stint with the Islanders. He got caught in a numbers game.

"Unfortunately, I was the odd man out," Thompson said. "There are no hard feelings."

Thompson, 25, had a goal and six points and was minus-14 for New York. In two games for Tampa Bay, he has four shots on goal, has played on the penalty kill and has won 12 of 18 faceoffs. "This is a big opportunity," Thompson said. "I just have to stay consistent with the little things I do, and I should be fine."

"We're looking for a third- and fourth-line guy who is responsible and can chip in a goal once in a while," Tocchet said. "There are spots open."

GOOD COMPANY: With 51 career goals after scoring Wednesday, Stamkos, 19, is fourth among active players with the most goals before age 20, behind Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby (75), Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk (67) and Columbus' Rick Nash (58).

GAME BREAK: The second period was suspended with 1:38 left because the Lightning's Kurtis Foster shot broke a pane of glass. It was at least the fourth pane Foster has broken this season. The time was added to the start of the third.

ODDS AND ENDS: Foster's assist on Stamkos' goal was his 100th career point. … D Victor Hedman and Montreal's Scott Gomez got four-minute roughing penalties and 10-minute misconducts for a second-period scrum. "I'm stepping up for my team, and I'm not backing up," Hedman said. ... AHL Norfolk is 4-0 under new coach Jim Johnson. … D David Hale, who had played two games in January, was sent to Norfolk on a conditioning assignment. … Left wings Todd Fedoruk and Stephane Veilleux (leg) were scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Marty St. Louis adjusts to move to left wing 01/27/10 [Last modified: Thursday, January 28, 2010 7:41am]
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