Niitty Starting In Second Of Back To Back Games
The Lightning arrived in St. Louis about 12:30 a.m. local time last night and nestled in for the night after a tough loss at Detroit. Today the team had an 11:30 a.m. optional morning skate and although they didn't have to, pretty much the entire team was at the arena. A good number of players took to the ice to get their legs going for tonight's match up with the Blues.
Notably on the ice this morning were Victor Hedman and Jeff Halpern. Hedman missed the game last night, his second of the season, with a lower body injury and it looks like he may be ready to go tonight. Jeff Halpern took a puck to the face against the Red Wings and told the media today he lost four teeth as a result. He also took about 12 stitches. It appears as though he will play as well, but with a mask to protect his mouth.
Antero Niittymaki will get the start in goal and he'll be looking for a little more support than the Tampa Bay netminders have been receiving recently. The Lightning have been shut out in three of the previous six games, a stat that head coach Rick Tocchet said is "tough to shallow".
"You're always looking for answers," Tocchet said. "Myself and the coaches have a belief in how to play the game and how to get out of things. Its hard work and its giving whatever it takes. We're in a situation now where if you need to put a puck in your teeth and dive in the net, then that's what you've got to do."
The team will stay in St. Louis tonight and travel to Long Island tomorrow morning, where it will wind up the road trip against the Islanders on Monday night.