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THE LIGHTNING INSIDER

Thursday, 10.11.2007 / 3:40 PM / Lightning Insider
By Lightning Insider
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THE LIGHTNING INSIDER
Let Tampabaylightning.com become your destination for all the latest Lightning scoops. The Lightning Insider will be in the stands, in the locker room and on the road with the team throughout the 2007-08 season to provide you with a positive look at the Bolts as they pursue Lord Stanley’s hardware. Our resident snoop will post the latest following practices and morning skates, and he’ll make sure you’re the first to know when the Lightning are making news.

Following last night’s big win against Florida, Lightning coach John Tortorella once again praised his team for getting the job done despite not playing its best hockey. Johan Holmqvist once again gave the Lightning a chance to win.

“Holmer played well, but we did some really good things around him too,” Tortorella said. “We did a good job of blocking shots and clearing away the rebounds after the first shot.

“We found a way.”

Tortorella said the line of Chris Gratton, Jason Ward and Mathieu Darche was the team’s best, and he hinted that Darche may be sticking around for awhile.

“Darche is a good skater,” he said. “Sometimes you have some injuries and a guy steps in. It would be awful tough to take him out of the lineup now if someone gets healthy.”

Tortorella said the most encouraging sign was that another line stepped up while the line of Vincent Lecavalier, Vaclav Prospal and Martin St. Louis wasn’t at its best.

“We have depended on that line quite a bit the past few years,” Tortorella said. “To win games in this league and to continue the start we’re off to now it’s important for someone else to chip in.”

The team skated at noon today in Brandon in what turned out to be a short and lively session. Assistant coach Mike Sullivan ran the practice, incorporating some new drills and games the players seemed to enjoy.

The team will skate at 11 a.m. Friday before hopping on a short flight to Fort Lauderdale for Saturday’s rematch with the Panthers.