Note to San Jose: Dan Boyle has a record of playing with a chip on his shoulder against his former team. At least that was the case when the Lightning played against the Florida Panthers in the past... And despite his stated sentimentality about Tampa to Times beat writer Damian Cristodero yesterday, it's a sure thing that he is all business tonight whent he Bolts and the Sharks face off tonight.
The story here from Tampa is a lullabye with thanks to the NHL schedule makers (sidenote -- Broadstreet Hockey has a timely piece complaining about the joke of a schedule so far this season). The Bolts have been idle since Satuday night when they were schooled by Lord Stanley's Champions, 4-1. Previous to that, the Bolts suffered the grand beat-down in Ottawa: a humiliating 7-1 loss.
And the end result were lines being shaken up. While head coach rick Tocchet would love nothing more than the players self-policing themselves -- it's gotten to the point where Rick needs to start laying down the law and he knows it. So look for lineup consequences with poor play tonight.
Jon Jordan at Hockey Buzz has a lengthy preview of the importance of tonight's game for the Lightning.
And let us not forget our friends over at Puck Daddy who have an article up about the Calder race early on. Yes, Victor Hedman is mentioned... but the story is about others than the top selections in this year's draft.
The Bolts are 0-4-1 in the last five meeting siwth the Sharks. The Sharks are 5-3-1 coming into tonights action at Times Palace... The Lightning are 2-0-1 so far this season at home. San Jose boasts a 26.8% conversion rate on the Power Play, while their penalty kill hovers at near 80%. They're averaging 30.7 shots on goal nightly and allow 29.7 shots.
Joe Thornton is the league leader in assists at current and has 14 points this season... He's been looked at as "on-the-bubble" for making the Canadian Olympic hockey team, but with this start to his season -- there should be no question about him making the squad.
Note: his chief competition to making the squad is supposed to be Vincent Lecavalier.
Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines
(updated October 22, 2009 by RawCharge subject to change)
James Wright - Vinny Lecavalier - Martin St. Louis
Ryan Malone - Steven Stamkos - Steve Downie
Alex Tanguay - Jeff Halpern - Drew Miller
Todd Fedoruk - Zenon Konopka - Stephane Veilleux
Mattias Ohlund | Victor Hedman
Paul Ranger | Matt Walker
Kurtis Foster | Andrej Meszaros
Mike Smith (starter)