The Lightning Insider
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Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there in Hockey Bay! While most people are throwing back the turkey and falling asleep on the couch watching football today the Lightning will be getting ready to board a plane to St. Paul, Minnesota as they take on the Wild at 2 p.m. Tampa time tomorrow. The Lightning had a 10:30 a.m. practice this morning and then will have the afternoon with their families before jumping on the plane.
Rick Tocchet told the media, all two of them, this morning that Mike Smith would get the start tomorrow. For those of you that don't remember, he shut Minnesota out in the previous meeting before losing in a shootout. Tocchet said Smitty has the hot hand and wants to ride him.
Speaking of shootouts, what's going on with the Lightning this year? Last nigh they fell to 1-5 in shootouts this year. Smith, who hadn't allowed a shootout goal in his career entering this season, has been in between the pipes for all of them. As for the shooters Tocchet said "the job is open right now." He also said he would like to see Ryan Malone after his successful penalty shot the other night. He chose Radim Vrbata last night because he had some success in practice.
Tocchet also said he may have to change his strategy. He had been electing to go first because the team that scores first wins the shootout 80 percent of the time. Something tells me he might try something different next time.
What a game for Steven Stamkos against the Rangers last night. He was all over the place, hitting, fighting and won a battle in the offensive zone that led to the tying goal in the third. "Stammers intensity was the best we've seen it this year," Tocchet said.
Gary Roberts appears close to returning and will be on the road with the team to Minnesota, Denver and Philadelphia.