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Lightning's Lecavalier has bone bruise

Vinny Lecavalier slowly leaves the ice after being hit on the left ankle by a shot as Saturday’s game against the Rangers ended. “My whole foot went dead,” he says. Lecavalier has a bone bruise but says he doesn’t expect to miss any games. The Lightning starts a four-game road trip Tuesday at Philadelphia.
Published Feb. 4, 2013

Vinny Lecavalier said he iced his left foot until 3:30 a.m. Sunday. He watched the Super Bowl with his foot up while icing some more.

It was a small inconvenience. The Lightning captain said it was "definitely a relief" the foot was not broken when hit by a slap shot from teammate Sami Salo just as Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Rangers at the Tampa Bay Times Forum ended.

"I heard the buzzer at the same time," Lecavalier said Sunday.

X-rays after the game were negative. Sunday's MRI exam confirmed a bone bruise, and the center said he planned to play Tuesday at Philadelphia.

"I'm not expecting to miss any games," he said.

Lecavalier said he was hit on the outside of the left ankle, fortuitous because the skate boot there provides the most padding.

Even so, Lecavalier said that when he was hit, "my whole foot went dead," and he skated off the ice hunched over in pain.

Losing Lecavalier — whose 11 points on four goals and seven assists are tied for 13th in the league — would have been a serious blow to Tampa Bay (6-2-0), which Tuesday begins a tough four-game road trip that also includes stops in Boston, New Jersey and at the Rangers.

Lecavalier is listed as day-to-day.

"It definitely could have been worse," he said. "We'll re-evaluate it (today), but I think it will be fine for Tuesday."

GRADING: Marty St. Louis, with 14 points on three goals and 11 assists, is off to the best eight-game start of his career. Yet, the right wing is not entirely happy.

"I'm honest with how I'm analyzing my game," he said. "I don't think I've played my best hockey."

His gripes?

He has to better put himself in scoring position, and when he is there, he must cash in on opportunities. He must better use his speed and cut down on turnovers; he is tied for second in the league with 13.

"He's always hard on himself because he wants to perform at his best, and that's why he's Marty," coach Guy Boucher said. "I can't ask any more of him than I'm getting now."

After the loss to the Rangers, during which he whiffed on a prime scoring chance, St. Louis said he is "getting there."

"From the get-go I thought I was jumping and using my speed," he said. "Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make something happen."

WAITING: Why, before Saturday's game, had G Mathieu Garon played only one of Tampa Bay's first seven? It's all about Anders Lindback, whom the Lightning wants to turn into a bona fide No. 1.

"We have a youngster we're trying to groom and give him ice time," Boucher said. "There are a few games I could have thrown Mathieu out there, but the plan is to give (Lindback) as many games as we can so he can catch up on the games he's missed the last two years."

Lindback, 24, played just 38 games the past two seasons as backup to Nashville star Pekka Rinne. "He works so hard, and he has an unbelievable attitude," Boucher said of Lindback, who is 5-1-0 with a 2.83 goals-against average and .911 save percentage. "It's not just skill. He has the whole package."

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