The ballad of Marty Turco; Tampa Bay Lightning versus Boston Bruins preview

WHERE: Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa, Florida
WHEN: 7:30 PM EDT | | TICKETS: Check Availability
MEDIA: Sun Sports (cable), 970 WFLA (radio)
OPPONENT COVERAGE: Stanley Cup of Chowder

There's an irony with the starting goaltending tonight at Times Palace when the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins square off for the third time this season. The irony being that the starter in net for Boston will be someone thought of as a solution after Mathieu Garon was injured last week against the Ottawa Senators.

Indeed, Marty Turco's name came up early and often after Garon left March 6th's game in the opening minutes with what turned out to be a slight groin tear. Turco had been signed by the Bruins as an injury replacement for Tuukka Rask (who also has a groin tear and is out for 4-6 weeks). But, because Turco had been playing in Europe and would be returning to North American, he had to pass through waivers before being able to join the Bruins.

So, when Garon went down, punditry immediately assumed Tampa Bay may put in a claim for Turco as a serviceable, veteran goalie who could serve as a stop-gap for moment.

The problem was, punditry (and many others) weren't aware of NHL Bylaw 12.4. What the bylaw stipulates is that a player claimed off waivers after the trade deadline won't be eligible to play on the team that he's been claimed by. That basically turns post-trade-deadline waiver claims into a paper war between two clubs.. You can't have the player you're trying to pass through waivers! Neener Neener Neener!

Turco will start in net for the B's tonight for Boston, and he'll be pitted against Dustin Tokarski, whom became the defacto go-to goalie in Garon's absence. He's still looking for his first win of the season (...and of his career).

Steven Stamkos has been getting time off from practice for "body maintenance". He, Martin St. Louis and Teddy Purcell have been carrying the team offensive as of late (as well as with time on ice, as Damian Cristodero wrote at length about), and that will lead to more hurt than not.

Which segues us back into discussing team injuries: Guy Boucher stated earlier today that captain Vincent Lecavalier won't be back this week. Perhaps he'll return to the lineup next week. Vinny's been out of action since late February with a broken hand.

Vinny's return would be a welcome presence - and would take a few moments away from the overworked Stamkos.

The Bruins are 4-5-1 in their past 10 games, but their 83 points on the season puts Tampa Bay's 69 to shame. The Bruins are trying to hold off the Ottawa Senators in the Northeast Division (who sit two points behind them). If the playoffs started today Boston would face the Senators (seeded 7th in the east) in the 1st round... So, basically, winning the division has become a quest for home-ice advantage.

As we noted above the jump: Tik gets the start in net for the Lightning, Turco makes his season debut in net for the Bruins. Tokarski's GAA the past two games is 2.95, with a save percentage of .895.

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