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Tampa Bay Lightning's Teddy Purcell primed to face former team, the Kings

Right wing Teddy Purcell looks forward to tonight’s game against the Kings, who traded him to the Lightning in March.

JOSEPH GARNETT JR. | Times

Right wing Teddy Purcell looks forward to tonight’s game against the Kings, who traded him to the Lightning in March.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Safe to say Lightning RW Teddy Purcell has had tonight's game with the Kings marked on his calendar.

There is no animosity here. As Purcell said, "I still have a lot of really good friends there."

But Purcell, whom the Lightning acquired in March from the Kings, a team that scratched him in 18 of his last 22 games, wouldn't mind the last laugh.

"I don't want to lose to those guys," he said.

Purcell, 25, traded for Jeff Halpern and a third-round draft pick, returns to Los Angeles in a position of strength.

He entered Wednesday tied for fourth on the team with six points on a goal and five assists, on a line with C Vinny Lecavalier and on the second power-play unit, which should raise his average ice time from 13:10.

"That's going to increase my chances to be successful," Purcell said. "I just have to work hard, to be hungry for the puck."

And, perhaps, shoot a bit more. Purcell's 26 shots were tied for fourth on the team. Coach Guy Boucher said that is not enough.

"His wrist shot is crazy," Boucher said. "He's got to realize his shot is his biggest asset, even more than his passing ability. We're getting there slowly."

"I want to shoot, but it's a habit I have to look pass first," Purcell said. "I guess I wasn't so much confident in my shot before. I guess I didn't realize it was better than it has been in the past."

CRITICISM: Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy, in a statement he clearly did not think through, said the system Boucher used from 2006-09 as coach of Drummondville, and which apparently has since permeated the Quebec junior league, "perhaps delayed the development of some players."

But Roy went further and told the Journal de Montreal, "Boucher did nothing to help our league advance. His defensive system was copied by many other teams. I know my comments will not please Guy, but for me, hockey should be focused on offense, not defense."

First a reality check:

Boucher's 2008-09 Drummondville team won the championship with 345 goals, 37 more than any Quebec league team. The Lightning entered Wednesday tied for the league lead with an average 3.5 goals per game. And as former Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella preached, good offense always comes off stout defense.

"I'm all about the transition," Boucher said. "I'm a forward-game type of guy. … We spend 80 percent of our time on offense. If you watch our practices, you'll see, so that's all I'm focused on."

INJURIES: LW Simon Gagne, out five games with what the team is calling a sprained neck, has been cleared to exercise, Boucher said. … C Dominic Moore's MRI exam showed no tears in his groin, and Boucher said he might play Tuesday against the Maple Leafs. … D Matt Smaby (sprained right ankle) still is in a walking boot.

ODDS AND ENDS: D Pavel Kubina said the league did not call about his knee-to-knee hit Saturday with Phoenix's Keith Yandle. … D Mathieu Roy was scratched.

.TONIGHT

Lightning at Kings

When/where: 10:30; Staples Center, Los Angeles

TV/radio: Sun Sports; 620-AM

Key stats: The Lightning is unbeaten in seven straight in Los Angeles (5-0-0 with two ties) and overall is 10-1-0 in L.A. with two ties and a 43-26 advantage in goals. Its only loss was in November 1997. … The Kings are 4-0-0 at home this season. … Tampa Bay is 2-0-0 in the second of back-to-back games. … Los Angeles G Jonathan Quick entered Wednesday tied for the league lead with seven victories.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Teddy Purcell primed to face former team, the Kings

11/03/10 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 8:11am]
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