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Tampa Bay Lightning's Vinny Lecavalier out with mid-body injury

BOSTON — Lightning C Vinny Lecavalier said he knew something was wrong when, during Wednesday's game with the Devils, he threw a check into David Steckel.

After the game, when his body cooled and the injury stiffened, it was confirmed.

The mid-body injury, which the team declined to specify, kept the captain out of Thursday's game with the Bruins. How many more games he misses is anyone's guess.

"He might be okay (today)," coach Guy Boucher said, "or he might be okay in a week."

"It's day-to-day," Lecavalier said. "We're going to have to keep an eye on it. I can't say if (today) I'm going to be good or the next day. Hopefully I can play (Saturday) against Montreal."

The injury, with 3:16 left in the third period on a check thrown into corner boards, comes at an inconvenient time.

Tampa Bay's injuries are piling up. W Ryan Malone (stomach muscle), and defensemen Mike Lundin (abdomen) and Marc-Andre Bergeron (back spasms) are on the shelf. RW Steve Downie left Thursday's game in the second period with what seemed a recurrence of a high ankle sprain.

Lecavalier, who did not leave Wednesday's game and played the final 1:34, has been one of the Lightning's best players lately, with seven goals and 15 points in his past 14 games.

"Very disappointing," he said of the timing. "I'm starting to feel really good, not just scoring but skating-wise. I feel like a spring in my step,"

There is no thought of surgery, said Lecavalier, who missed the preseason after right knee surgery and 15 games in October and November after surgery on his right hand.

"It's just something you have to treat, manipulation treatment, to make sure it loosens up," he said of his current injury. "It's a little tight right now. If I don't move it for 10 minutes or so, it's pretty painful. It's something we're going to work on."

CALLUPS: C Blair Jones and F Mattias Ritola were recalled from AHL Norfolk.

Jones has 20 goals and 44 points in 47 games for the Admirals. Ritola, sent down in February, has two goals and 11 points in nine games.

DOWNIE AND OUT: Could Downie be in Boucher's dog house? The right wing not only poked with his stick in the second period at Boston C Gregory Campbell, who slid into G Mike Smith and into the Tampa Bay net, he also skated from near the Tampa Bay bench to confront LW Shawn Thornton, who had challenged D Pavel Kubina to fight.

Downie and Thornton got 10-minute misconducts. But whereas the Bruins were trying to intimidate, Tampa Bay's strategy is this:

"To win hockey games," LW Sean Bergenheim said, "not doing the fights or anything."

Downie said he wasn't trying to fight Thornton. "I was just going to make sure he didn't do anything with Kuby."

As for Campbell, Downie said, "I was trying to move the net. I didn't hit anyone."

SEEING STAMKOS: Boucher and GM Steve Yzerman gave pep talks to C Steven Stamkos, who leads the league with 41 goals but has one in 10 games and one shot in his past three.

"It's important he can't lose confidence because he's having a few games where it's not working out," Boucher said. "But he's got to figure out a way to get out of these little moments."

Boucher said Stamkos is going to the right areas on the ice but not shooting. He said he counted eight chances Wednesday in which Stamkos passed up shots: "Out of eight opportunities that he shoots, there's going to be at least one goal or something happening from his shot."

ODDS AND ENDS: Yzerman said Norfolk G Cedrick Desjardins (shoulder) will practice another week before a decision on his status is made. … Saturday's game with the Canadiens and Monday's with the Capitals at the St. Pete Times Forum are at 7 p.m. to accommodate TV. … D Matt Smaby was scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Vinny Lecavalier out with mid-body injury 03/03/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 4, 2011 12:40am]
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