Bolts look to have Halpern back tonight against Flyers
After one of the oddest gamenights for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the team's history, the Bolts bussed to Philadelphia last night and checked into the team hotel.
The players and staff awoke this morning and headed over to the Wachovia Center for a meeting and an optional morning skate to prepare for tonight's game against the Flyers. So despite having played just over half a game and leading the Eastern Conference's top team 3-0 in its own building, the Lightning will not have closure on that contest as it steps on the ice tonight. In fact, the Bolts might not even know when the "postponed" game will be resumed.
Players are taking afternoon naps wondering if the game might be played tomorrow or Monday in New Jersey, which make some sense because the two teams are in the area. And with an already tightened NHL schedule because of the Olympic hiatus, open dates between now and the end of the season are few and far between. So we'll know more at a later time.
As for tonight's game, the Lightning owe the Flyers some payback for a pre-Christmas loss in a game played at the St. Pete Times Forum. Antero Niittymaki is getting the call for Tampa Bay tonight, coach Rick Tocchet starting him for the first week in several gamesm. Expect Niitty to be at the top of his game playing against his former teammates in front of his former home crowd.
Tocchet also told the media that Jeff Halpern is ready to go tonight and fans should expect him back in the lineup. The coach isn't saying who will sit tonight, but Brandon Bochenski and Blair Jones are good possibilities.
Andrej Meszaros and David Hale skated extra minutes at the end of the skate today so it looks like the defensive lineup will remain the same as last night.
Remember puck drop is 7pm and the game will be televised in Tampa Bay on CW44.