TAMPA — Lightning star W Marty St. Louis is unquestionably an Ironman.
He has played in 372 consecutive games, the sixth-longest active streak in the NHL, but he left the ice in the waning minutes of Saturday night's win against the Thrashers after he was leveled by Atlanta W Clarke MacArthur in what coach Rick Tocchet called one of those "scary moments."
"My head hit the back of the boards, which confused me a bit," St. Louis said after the game, adding that he felt okay.
He said he would be evaluated again Sunday, and team spokesman Bill Wickett said that, "As expected Marty is doing fine. We have nothing new to report.'' The Lightning wouldn't commit to St. Louis' status.
The Lightning needs St. Louis on the ice and at his peak. Aside from his work ethic and tenacity, St. Louis has been on a roll, with 11 goals and 15 assists in his past 17 games, including a game-changing goal and two assists in Saturday's 6-2 win that snapped a five-game losing streak.
"Marty was Marty," Tocchet said.
The Lightning should know more after today's workout before it leaves for a critical three-game road trip — Montreal on Tuesday, Toronto on Thursday and Washington on Friday — then back at home against Pittsburgh on Sunday.
All those teams except Toronto are ahead of the Lightning (27-26-11) in the Eastern Conference standings.
Bouncing back: After struggling in recent games, rookie D Victor Hedman had a fairly solid performance Saturday.
"I thought he was a little nervous early, and then he just settled in," Tocchet said. "He did a nice job.
"You've got to remember, he's 19 years old. He was 18 when we got him. He's going to make mistakes. But I'll tell you what, he bounced back."
Said Hedman: "Obviously, your confidence is raised when your team is playing well and you feel like stuff you were struggling a bit on is back. It just gives me more confidence with the puck."
Increasing his role already: RW Teddy Purcell, who appeared in his second game with the Lightning since he was acquired Wednesday in a trade with Los Angeles, has meshed nicely with C Vinny Lecavalier and LW Ryan Malone.
He had a goal (on a penalty shot) and an assist against the Thrashers.
Tocchet said he didn't know much about Purcell a few days ago but has been impressed with his hands, the "urgency of his play" and a shot that might prove invaluable on the power play as part of the second unit. Purcell got work in that role Saturday.
"It is only two games, and I can't get too excited, but it's definitely a good start," Purcell said. "Just to get back out there and feel confident and part of a team again is real exciting."
One for the books: C Steven Stamkos tied the club record for power-play goals in a season with his 16th in the opening period Saturday. The mark was set by Brian Bradley (1992-93) and tied by Lecavalier (2006-07). Stamkos has 18 games left to set the record.
Brian Landman can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3347.