WHERE: Verizon Center, Washington D.C.
WHEN: 3 PM EST
MEDIA: Sun Sports (cable), 620 WDAE (radio)
OPPONENT COVERAGE: Jaspers' Rink
A little bit of a different format today for the afternoon game between the Bolts and the Caps. After the jump you'll find the prevew, but this is also the game thread. So please remark away
Despite the distractions in the air, two major player moves are noteworthy for the Lightning goign into this afternoon's conest with the Washington Capitals.
The first one that takes precedence for the game at Verizon Center is that goalie Mike Smith returns from injury to start against the same team he last saw action against. Smith has been out since sustaining a neck strain during the Bolts/Caps match-up at Times Palace earlier this month.
The other notable player move is that defenseman Lukas Krajicek had his contract terminated by the Lightning. Krajicek had been demoted to Norfolk of the AHL and had supposedly gone AWOL form the team in recent days. The Lightning are free of his contract entirely and Krajicek has reportedly signed with the Flyers.
As for today, there is the drama of Downie-vs-Ovechkin which is certain to play out at least through media reports related to the game (...color me guilty, I just did it). In the past two Lightning games, we have seen things deteriorate into brawls . Witness the large-scale scrap from Friday versus Anaheim, throw in the tiff from the recent Lighting / Montreal match-up and you see that the continued possibility of fireworks in today's game.
Washington boasts the #1 power play unit in the league, but the Lightning have been more formidable on the penalty kill in the last few games. There is, however, some psychological road block that has the Bolts flounder on the PK on the road.
If the game descends into a grudge match with loads of penalties, the game can quickly get away from them. You want to play disciplined in this instance -- not with passion and emotion on your shoulder to "get even" for a grievance.
Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines
(updated January 31 2010 by Raw Charge - subject to change)
Ryan Malone - Vincent Lecavalier - Jeff Halpern
Martin St. Louis - Steven Stamkos - Steve Downie
Nate Thompson - Stephane Veilleux - Alex Tanguay
Todd Fedoruk - Zenon Konopka - Kurtis Foster
Mattias Ohlund - Mike Lundin
Matt Smaby - Victor Hedman
Andrej Meszaros - Matt Walker
Mike Smith (starter)
[Note by John Fontana, 01/31/10 1:06 PM EST ] The Lightning have reassigned Paul Szczechura to Norfolk of the AHL on a conditioning stint.