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TONIGHT'S GAME

Who: Tampa Bay Lightning (1-1-1) vs.

St. Louis Blues (1-2).

When: 8:35 tonight.

Where: St. Louis Arena.

TV/Radio: Ch. 44; WQYK-1010 AM.

Coaches: Tampa Bay _ Terry Crisp; St. Louis _ Bob Plager.

Players to watch: Tampa Bay _ left wing Chris Kontos, left wing Mikael Andersson, center Brian Bradley, defenseman Rob Ramage and goaltender Pat Jablonski. St. Louis _ right wing Brett Hull, left wing Brendan Shanahan, defenseman Jeff Brown and goaltender Curtis Joseph.

What to expect: The Blues feature Hull, the leading goal-scorer in the NHL last season with 70.

The Lightning doesn't plan to have one player check him the whole game, but it will try to keep him off the ice as much as possible by quick line changes.

"We want to have quick, hard shifts, so he can't stay on the ice for two- and three-minute shifts," Lightning assistant coach Wayne Cashman said. "The more we play at a hard pace, the less likely he can stay on the ice, hopefully."

Crisp said it will be necessary for the Lightning to stay out of the penalty box, so the team doesn't give Hull more room to operate.

But the Blues have been struggling on the power play, converting 2 of 23. The Lightning hasn't been much better, scoring three power-play goals (by Kontos) on 20 chances.

St. Louis Arena is 200 by 85 feet. The Lightning's physical style is better suited to smaller rinks (Chicago Stadium is 185 by 85). But the Blues don't have great speed, so it might not present as big a problem.

The Blues also are coming off a 3-0 loss at Chicago. The Lightning, which tied the Blackhawks in the same building, split two preseason games against St. Louis.

_ CAMMY CLARK

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