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YouTube sensation Sebastien Caron about to get first start for Tampa Bay Lightning

PHILADELPHIA — If you want a sense of how Sebastien Caron, the Lightning's newest goaltender, does his job, go to YouTube and search "best goalie saves."

Scroll to a video from Canada's TSN sports TV network that showcases what it believes are the top 10 saves of all time in the NHL. Caron is the only goalie featured twice, at No. 7 and No. 1.

"People talk about it," Caron said. "It's nice to get recognized for that, but, well, it's just fun."

But not unusual, said Lightning left wing Ryan Malone, who played with Caron from 2003-06 with the Penguins.

"I can probably think of about a dozen he stopped when it seemed like the other team had an empty net," Malone said. "Probably once a game he would make an unbelievable paddle save. I don't know if he's still got that in his bag or not."

We will find out.

With Tampa Bay playing back-to-back games tonight against the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center and Tuesday in Boston, Caron likely starts one.

For the Amqui, Quebec, native, it is a happy return to the NHL after five seasons in Switzerland, Russia and Germany.

Signed March 19 to a one-year prorated contract after the season-ending groin injury to Mathieu Garon and the Lightning's failed experiment with AHL Norfolk's Dustin Tokarski, Caron, 31, is along for a ride he hopes leads to a permanent gig somewhere in the NHL.

"It's kind of like a tryout," he said. "We'll see what happens. It could go one way, or it could go wrong, but I'll do my best. I'm going to have a blast."

That was difficult from 2002-06, when he played 90 of his 92 NHL games for a struggling Penguins franchise. And Caron was in net in November 2003 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum for a 9-0 Lightning rout in which he allowed eight goals.

He is athletic, though.

"He's a springy kind of guy who can stretch to make those saves when he's down and out," Tampa Bay goaltenders coach Frantz Jean said. "That's a big asset at this level."

And that brings us back to TSN's top 10. No. 7 was against the Canadiens in December 2003, when Caron dove to the front of the net to make a paddle save on Mike Ribeiro.

That's memorable, but it's nothing compared to the No. 1 save, from October 2005 against the Flyers.

Caron was beaten to the right by a shot that hit the post and ricocheted underneath him to Philadelphia's Brian Savage, who shot at an open net. Caron twisted to the left, reached back and gloved the puck just before it crossed the goal line.

"I remember thinking that was a for-sure goal," Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby recalled last week. "Just his hand coming out of nowhere, somehow he got his glove on it."

"You can see my reaction," Savage told TSN. "I couldn't believe he reached back that way."

But that's Caron, Crosby said: "He relies on reflexes, and he's not going to give up on a play."

Or on an NHL career, now that he has another chance.

"I told myself if I was ever going to give it another shot, I would be more ready for it, and I think I am," said Caron, who was 25-23-0 this season for Iserlohn in Germany with a 2.57 goals-against average and .932 save percentage.

"Now I'm more laid back. I go with the flow. I'm just going to enjoy my time here and do my best and try to do a show."

. Tonight

Lightning at Flyers

When/where: 7:30; Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia

TV/radio: NBC Sports Network; 970-AM

Key stats: The Lightning's 27 road points (11-19-5) are fewest in the Eastern Conference and second fewest in the league. … Flyers G Ilya Bryzgalov is on a 10-1-1 streak with a 1.22 goals-against average and .957 save percentage. … Tampa Bay's one short-handed goal is a league low. … Flyers RW Claude Giroux leads the league with 36 power play points, and LW Scott Hartnell is tied for the league lead with 15 power play goals. … Philadelphia has killed 36 of its past 39 penalties. … Since his February trade, former Lightning D Pavel Kubina has two assists and is plus-1 in 10 games for the Flyers while averaging 18:10 of ice time.

On the Web

See video of Lightning goalie Sebastien Caron's highlight-reel saves at tampabay.com/blogs/lightning.

YouTube sensation Sebastien Caron about to get first start for Tampa Bay Lightning 03/25/12 [Last modified: Sunday, March 25, 2012 9:59pm]
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