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If you decided to skip last night’s game against the Vancouver Canucks for any reason, you missed the most entertaining game of the year so far. Vinny Lecavalier set the tone for the night early on when he showed Alex Burrows what happens when you slash the reigning Rocket Richard winner. The entire Lightning bench responded to Lecavalier’s message, and an old-time hockey game broke out. Not only was the Lightning bench more energetic and animated than any time this season, but the fans responded as well and there was plenty of trash talking.
The great part about the night was…the energy never subsided. The Lightning and Canucks exchanged crunching hits, goals and fists until the final buzzer. After the game in the Tampa Bay locker room, ice bags were at such a premium that it seemed like a post-playoff game atmosphere.
Basically, the Lightning showed what they are capable of when the right mix of emotion and desperation take over their game. Roberto Luongo – billed as the big story heading into the game, was basically a non-factor other than his stop of a Lecavalier breakaway. Karri Ramo made the saves when needed after allowing a goal on the first shot he faced, but on this night Tampa Bay’s team defense got the job done.
If the emotion can carry over to tomorrow night’s game against Florida – and it usually does – then the Bolts should fair well against the Panthers.
Today’s noon practice at the St. Pete Times Forum lasted only about 30 minutes and was basically a chance for the boys to stretch their legs. After the practice 19-year-old rocker Megan McCauley – who will perform on the plaza following tomorrow night’s game – took the opportunity to meet and get some pictures with the players. Should be a good show; check out her website at www.meganmccauley.com.