WHERE: St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida
WHEN: 3 PM EST
MEDIA: 620 WDAE (radio)
OPPONENT COVERAGE: St. Louis Game Time
Letting the Washington Capitals make up ground on Friday night was a bit of a let down. Not a huge deal, but enough of a disappointment that it lingers on, days later. Admittedly not the best effort. A post game quote from RW Teddy Purcell really said it all:
A let down, through and through. Why bring up Friday though? This is Sunday's game preview, after all. It's because an equally dangerous game is schedule to be played at Times Palace -- it's inter-conference play. It's not a division matchup, it's not a conference grudge match. It's easy to lose focus that these are two points that count in the standings - even if the opponent is one you're in direct competition with.
The St. Louis Blues are in town, here on Super Bowl Sunday.... And so is the most sought after trophy in pro-sports: The Stanley Cup (face it, football fans, the Lombardi Trophy just ain't that historic).
For the fans, there are a few distractions today. For the players, there's could be a big distraction that will likely effect game play -- ice quality. After the game Friday night, the St. Pete Times Forum was converted for basketball and Saturday's match-up between the South Florida Bulls and Syracuse Orange Men in the afternoon.
yes, other arenas handle these conversions quite often, and the St. Pete Times Forum crew is not exactly bad at its job... That being said, there's still a chance the ice will be affected from the quick turn-around conversions. Keep an eye out for odd puck bounces on the slow ice.
Marc-Andre Bergeron will likely make his season debut as well. Mike Lundin is out with his groin / abdominal issues. It's a major blow to the Bolts blue line to lose Lundin, but it's a major addition to the Lightning power play to have Bergeron finally on the NHL roster. My expectation is for the Bolts to dress seven defencemen, with Bergeron and Matt Smaby both seeing action.
The Bolts hold steady with a 20.7 power play conversion rate. The Blues, on the other hand, are in the bottom quarter of the league with a14.4% conversion rate with the man advantage. On the flip side, the Blues are killing off 80.4% of opposing power plays, while the Lightning are stopping 84.0% of opponents power play opportunities.