The Tampa Bay Lightning could very well be without the top goal scorer in the playoffs in tonight's Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final with the Bruins. Wing Sean Bergenheim, who has nine goals and missed the second and third periods of Game 5 with an undisclosed injury, is a game-time decision, coach Guy Boucher said.
Bergenheim skated on his own, mostly in circles, Wednesday morning. Asked later in the hallway outside the locker room at the St. Pete Times Forum if he could say anything about how he feels or if he will play, Bergenheim simply shrugged his shoulders and kept walking.
Boucher did not sound encouraging, either.
"We have to wait," he said. "The doctors are looking at him now and we have to wait until tonight, and then make a game-time decision."
It appeared Bergenheim was hurt when checked behind the Bruins net in the first period by defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. But Boucher indicated the injury is not acute but something that had been lingering and was aggravated.
If Bergenheim can't go, Boucher said he either will put in Dana Tyrell, who has missed 11 of the past 12 playoff games because of either a foot injury or illness, or a seventh defenseman, likely Randy Jones, who has missed the past three games because of a lingering high ankle sprain.
Either way, Boucher said, "When you take somebody out that's been a big part of our playoffs, it does take some chemistry out, and I gotta find that."
Other stuff from the morning: As expected, Dwayne Roloson gets the start in net for Tampa Bay. ... Unusual for a coach to address a referee, but Boucher did comment, indirectly, of course, on Game 6 referee Eric Furlatt. In the past four Lightning games in which Furlatt refereed, penalties are 29-14 against Tampa Bay. "Yes, I'm aware of it, very aware of it," Boucher said without mentioning any names. "It has been a part of our discussions quite a few times in the last games we did have that particular ref, and it is lopsided. But the only thing we can control is what we do on the ice and hope things will be fair like it is with everybody else." Boucher added that "you want to ignore it but you're right, after repetition it is a concern. But we're planning on being strong mentally and forcing whoever is the ref to see that we're very disciplined." ... Bruins coach Claude Julien had a good take on the difference in preparing for Roloson or Mike Smith in net. "We know that Smith is a great puck-handler and he likes to come out of his net. He likes to play the puck. If we didn't get good line changes, he could make us pay for it. That's an adjustment you make. We prepared for either/or last game. It really didn't matter. Tonight, knowing that it's Roloson, I don't think it changes much in our approach. But we do know there are certain things we can and cannot do. They each have their strengths and they each have their weaknesses and it's up to us to exploit those weaknesses." ... Sounds as if this series goes to a seventh game, the Stanley Cup final would begin Wednesday in Vancouver. If the Bruins win tonight and clinch, a Monday start is more likely. Nothing in stone, though.