Bolts in Chicago, Niitty Starting Against Hawks
The Lightning practiced yesterday at a small rink outside of Denver call the Big Bear Ice Arena. It was a cool spot, a former airplane hanger turned into an ice rink. The kids and other hockey fans there certainly enjoyed having the Lightning there. After practice, which lasted a little under an hour, the team hopped on a plane and flew to Chicago. The team bus arrived at the hotel around 6:45 p.m. and it was greeted by a number of team sponsors who were flown to Chicago for the weekend. The players enjoyed a short reception and meet and greet before the sponsors were whisked away for dinner at one of chicago's finest restaurants, BOKA.
Antero Niittymaki will get the start again in goal. Without quoting many statistics, all you needed to do was watch the third period of the game against the Avalanche to realize he deserves to start tonight. Nitty made 18 saves in the third period Friday night and earned his team the point for going into overtime. He could have earned two if it wasn't for an unfortunate bounce that cost him the shutout late in the third period. Niittymaki really hasn't played a bad game yet this season and if he turns in a similar performance tonight you have to like the Lightning's chances.
Head Coach Rick Tocchet was pretty mum today on any roster changes. Ryan Malone and Steven Stamkos are still fine from their injuries suffered on Wednesday and will play tonight. Lukas Krajicek cleared waivers but remains with the team. He was on the ice with the scratches at the United Center this morning.
The team held a 10:30 a.m. meeting at the hotel today and will head to the United Center at 3:30 p.m. After the game the team will head to Nashville, having stayed in the windy city for roughly 26 hours or so. The Lightning will practice tomorrow at the Sommet Center in Nashville.