TAMPA — The Lightning’s game scheduled for Saturday in Dallas has been postponed as power-outage issues prompted by a winter storm and record-low temperatures continue throughout Texas.
The Lightning previously were scheduled to play Thursday in Dallas, but that game was postponed early Wednesday. The team remained in Tampa as it awaited word about Saturday’s game and practiced at Amalie Arena Thursday afternoon.
Now, the Lightning will go a week between games, not playing again until Monday, when they face the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C. That game was rescheduled from Jan. 26 because the Hurricanes had a coronavirus outbreak at the time. Monday’s game will be the first of three games in four days against Carolina.
The NHL has not made any announcements regarding makeup dates for the games in Dallas.
The Lightning will go a week between games, which will allow for more practice time now but a busier schedule later in the season.
They had gaps of five and four days between games earlier this season. They were slated to play the Stars in Texas on Jan. 17 and 19, but those games were postponed because the start of the Stars’ season was delayed due to a coronavirus outbreak.
“Practice helps teams,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “We’ve had a pretty decent history of after we’ve had practice, our game is coming to order. This will be good. I doubt this will happen too many more times.”
The gap comes after the Lightning had their roughest stretch of this short season, dropping two of three to the Florida Panthers, most recently 6-4 Monday in Tampa.
“Every time you play kind of an average game or not a good game, you want to go back out there and play right away and kind of change your thinking,” Lightning center Yanni Gourde said Thursday before the postponement was announced. “So now it’s been a few days and we still don’t know when we’re going to play, so you’ve just got to stay ready. And whenever the puck drops, you’ve got to remember the last game wasn’t so (good) and you’ve got to go out there and show that you can do much better.”
Stars coach Rick Bowness, who spoke to media minutes after the league announced Saturday’s postponement, said his team broke down video of the Lightning on Thursday morning in preparation for Saturday’s game. They “scrapped that” after the postponement was announced and moved on to preparing for their next game Monday against the Panthers in Sunrise.
“We were preparing to play Tampa, so you take your pencil and erase out Tampa and now we’re going to start doing more video on Florida,” Bowness said. “We were expected to play at some point, whether it was Friday and Saturday or just strictly Saturday, but that’s not going to happen, and that’s fine. Now we deal with the hand we’re dealt with, then we’ll get ready for Florida.”
Several Stars players are without power, and captain Jamie Benn has opened up his home to teammates. Tyler Seguin, who is currently in Toronto rehabbing an injury, also is allowing players to stay at his Dallas-area home.
“That’s what we do,” said Benn, who took in Dallas goaltender and former Lightning star Ben Bishop when Bishop’s home was damaged by tornadoes two years ago. “We’re trying to take care of each other and help each other out, because there’s guys on our team that also don’t have power.”
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @EddieInTheYard.
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