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"Round up Ze usual Suspects"

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Before during and now after my hiatus from Boltsmag, there has been a change in the Lightning...

It's not just the fact they've been in the win column more often than not, but they've been getting contributions from the stars that they should be (still minus man contributions from defensive members Pavel Kubina, Daryl Sydor and Dan Boyle though).

At the head of this -- the first guy who seemed to come out of his shell - is Ruslan Fedotenko who's scored four goals in the last five games, starting with sixth-in-a-row loss to Atlanta. Be it lucky breaks and what not, Ruslan's absence had been much of the reason why they Lightning were stumbling through mediocrity for much of the opening month and a half.

Speaking of lucky (in this case bad) breaks, Martin St. Louis has scored in both games since returning to the lineup. It should be noted that the Lightning have won six of seven games where Martin has scored a goal this season (the loss to the Rangers last week being the lone exception) so it's vital that Marty contribute -- even if he's got a broken finger tip.

Brad Richards is also back on the radar with points in five straigth games and... Well, wait a second... Doesn't Brad usual have points in games? He's scored at least one point in 18 of 22 games - I guess the bigger problem happens to be others amassing points on this team. Marty and Ruslan are two examples of this (St. Louis has points in just 12 of his games, Fedotenko racked up points in just ten.)

At any rate, the AP is heralding Freddie Modin's 3 points as the key factor in last night's win in Carolina. Carolina has been the beast of the southeast this year and much thanks have been given to Eric Staal for helping things along.

I'll let Red and Black Hockey report on the game last night... But just to say so: If someone can't fathom the concept of "Tampa Bay" representing the Tampa / St. Petersburg Metroplex... It makes me wonder how they were ever able to pass geography in High School (or give blessing to a regionally named team such as the Carolina Hurricanes or Panthers that aren't associated with one town or one state but two).