This Week's Lightning Action: Bolts Win 3rd Straight

Next up for the Lightning: The Bruins come to town for a rare Lightning home game.

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13 Total Updates since November 13, 2010
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Lightning 2, Sabres 1

Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) – Adam Hall’s second period goal off netminder Patrick Lalime’s misplay of the puck was good enough to lift Tampa Bay over Buffalo, 2-1, at HSBC Arena.

Teddy Purcell added a goal for the Lightning, who have won three straight for the first time since taking the first three games of the season. Mike Smith made 29 stops in the victory.

Thomas Vanek had the lone goal and Lalime recorded 20 saves for the Sabres, who have dropped two of their last three games.

Tampa Bay got the eventual game-winning goal with 8:34 left in the second, when Lalime tried to clear a dumped puck but miss-played it. Hall swiped the puck away near the left face off circle and wristed it past the recovering goaltender.

Buffalo took a 1-0 lead 4:52 into the game when Vanek intercepted a pass at mid-ice and rushed toward the slot. He ripped a shot that went under Smith’s leg pads for the unassisted goal.

Tampa Bay knotted the game at 1-1 when Pavel Kubina crossed the puck deep into the zone to Randy Jones, who then centered it. Purcell used his stick to redirect the puck at the top of the crease and it slipped past Lalime with 1:50 left in the first.

Buffalo looked to have regained the lead early in the second period when Tim Connolly swiped at a bouncing puck from the left side of the goal. He got just enough of the disc for it to roll into the net, but the goal was called off because of an illegal hand pass.

The Lightning fended off the Sabres’ empty-net attack the final 38 seconds to capture the win.

Game Notes

The Sabres had won 11 of the last 13 contest between the two clubs, including a four-game sweep last season…Steve Stampkos has 19 goals in the season’s first 20 games…The Sabres out-shot Tampa Bay 30-22…Paul Gaustad had three penalties for Sabres, while Dominic Moore had two for the Lightning.

11/20 22:16:17 ET

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Lightning 8, Flyers 7

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Steven Stamkos registered a hat trick and two assists, helping the Tampa Bay Lightning outlast Philadelphia, 8-7, and derailing the Flyers’ seven-game winning streak at the Wells Fargo Center.

Martin St. Louis collected a career-high five assists for the Lightning, who snapped a five-game road losing skid Wednesday against the New York Islanders.

Mike Smith relieved Dan Ellis in net after the latter gave up four goals on 10 shots in the first period. Smith made 19 saves the rest of the way.

Nikolay Zherdev scored two goals and set up another for Philadelphia, which had gone 10 games (9-0-1) without a regulation loss prior to Tuesday’s 3-0 setback in Montreal.

Flyers rookie netminder Sergei Bobrovsky, making his 12th consecutive start for the Atlantic Division leaders, was lifted after yielding four goals on 11 shots in the first period. Brian Boucher stopped 18-of-22 shots in relief.

11/18 21:59:07 ET

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Ritola Suspended 2 Games; Roy & Wright Called Up From Norfolk

From official press relases from the Tampa Bay Lightning:

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Mattias Ritola has been suspended for two games and will forfeit $5,555.92 in salary for a charging incident that involved a hit from behind on New York Islanders player Matt Moulson last night, the National Hockey League announced.

Ritola’s fine is based on his average annual salary and is calculated under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

The incident occurred at 6:13 of the second period and Ritola was assessed a major penalty for charging.

Ritola will miss tonight’s game at Philadelphia and at Buffalo on Saturday. He is eligible to return November 22 against the Boston Bruins.

The Tampa Bay Lightning recalled forward James Wright as well as defenseman Matt Roy from the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League today, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Roy, 6-foot-2, 208 pounds, has played in 13 games for the Admirals this season, recording two goals and 11 points with a plus-3 rating. He leads all Norfolk defensemen in both assists and points. Roy has played in one game with the Lightning this season, registering two penalty minutes.

A native of St. Georges, Quebec, Roy spent last season in the Columbus Blue Jackets organization, skating in a career-high 31 games and notching a career-best 10 assists. He also played in 15 AHL games with Syracuse and Rochester, recording four points. Roy also appeared in six postseason games with the Americans, registering 11 penalty minutes.

Roy was drafted by Edmonton in the seventh round, 215th overall, of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent on July 29, 2010.

Wright, 6-4, 200 pounds, has played in 15 games with the Admirals this season, recording four goals and 12 points, including one power play goal. This is Wright’s first call-up of the season.

A native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Wright made the Lightning roster out of juniors last season and went on to play in 48 games, recording two goals and five points in his NHL debut before being reassigned to the Vancouver Giants of the WHL. He was second among Lightning rookies in 2009-10 for both time on ice with 11:38 per game and points.

Wright was drafted by Tampa Bay in the fourth round, 117th overall, of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

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Lightning 4, Islanders 2

Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) – Martin St. Louis had a goal and two assists to lead Tampa Bay to a 4-2 win over the New York Islanders.

St. Louis’ goal came with 89 seconds left in the game but was followed just 21 ticks later by an Islanders goal from John Tavares, which made it 3-2.

The Lightning got an empty-netter from Nate Thompson with 16 seconds remaining to seal the win, just their second victory in eight November tilts.

The Islanders couldn’t muster a win in Jack Capuano’s NHL debut as head coach, dropping their 11th consecutive game. Capuano was handed the reins on an interim basis when Scott Gordon was fired Monday.

11/17 21:47:21 ET

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Lecavalier's Surgery Deemed "Successful"; Prognosis For Return Is 4-5 Weeks

From an official press release from the Tampa Bay Lightning:

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier underwent a successful procedure on his right hand today at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland , Ohio . The operation was performed by Dr. Tom Graham.

The procedure revealed an unstable fracture in the hand. It was fixated with a plate and screws to properly stabilize the fracture and promote optimal healing.

Lecavalier is expected to miss 4-5 weeks. He sustained the injury on Thursday, November 11 at the Washington Capitals and has been placed on injured reserve.

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Wild 4, Lightning 1

Tampa, FL (Sports Network) – John Madden scored the tie-breaking goal and Martin Havlat added three assists as Minnesota downed Tampa Bay, 4-1, at St. Pete Times Forum.

Cal Clutterbuck, Antti Miettinen and Eric Nystrom also tallied for the Wild, who ended a two-game slide in which they were outscored 7-2.

Niklas Backstrom turned away 37 shots to earn the win for the visitors, who evened their road record at 3-3-1.

Martin St. Louis recorded the only goal for the Lightning, who have lost three straight and six out of seven. Dan Ellis stopped 14 shots in defeat.

Tampa Bay announced Sunday that captain Vincent Lecavalier will undergo surgery on Monday to expedite the healing process of a non-displaced fracture in his right hand. Lecavalier, who suffered the injury during Thursday’s loss at Washington, is expected to be sidelined 3-to-4 weeks.

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Nystrom's Empty Netter Seals Lightning Fate

Minnesota Empty Net Goal – Eric Nystrom, from Martin Havlat and John Madden at 19:11. :49 Remaining.
Wild 4, LIGHTNING 1

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Wild Build Lead To 3-1 On Another Power Play Goal

Minnesota Power-Play Goal – Antti Miettinen (4), from Andrew Brunette and Mikko Koivu at 19:30. :30 Remaining.
Wild 3, LIGHTNING 1

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Wild Back On Top 2-1

Minnesota Goal – John Madden (3), from Martin Havlat at 12:55. 7:05 Remaining.
Wild 2, LIGHTNING 1

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Lightning Even The Score At 1 With A Power Play Goal Of Their Own

Tampa Bay Power-Play Goal – Martin St. Louis (7), from Brett Clark and Steven Stamkos at 11:31. 8:29 Remaining.
LIGHTNING 1, Wild 1

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Wild Open Scoring On Power Play Goal

Minnesota Power-Play Goal – Cal Clutterbuck (6), from Matt Cullen and Martin Havlat at 7:16. 12:44 Remaining.
Wild 1, LIGHTNING 0

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Lecavalier To Have Surgery Monday

From an official team press release:

TAMPA BAYTampa Bay Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier will undergo surgery on Monday, November 15 to expedite the healing process of a non-displaced fracture in his right hand, the club announced today.

The surgery will be performed by Dr. Tom Graham of the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland , Ohio .

The team’s original report that Lecavalier should be able to return to action in 3-4 weeks has not changed.

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This Week's Lightning Action: Bolts Look To Weather Slump & Injuries

The Lightning find themselves smack in the middle of their first real rough stretch of adversity this season. Injuries have become a key concern, the most serious of which are a mysterious nerve condition resulting from a neck injury that has kept forward Simon Gagne off the ice since October and a broken hand that will sideline captain Vincent Lecavalier for at least a month. In addition, forward Steve Downie has missed the last couple of games with a back injury, although he could return soon. This has necessitated call-ups from Norfolk, with Johan Harju and Marc Pouliot joining the team recently.

Not helping matters is a bizarrely lopsided schedule that gives the Lightning 12 straight home games in late January and the month of February but currently puts them on the road for 15 of 20 games since Nov. 1 through the middle of December, with no consecutive home games during that span. The Lightning have lost five of their last six (one in overtime) and haven't won on the road since a 2-0 shutout of the Phoenix Coyotes on Oct. 30. 

In spite of that, the Lightning still find themselves in good shape in the standings (8-6-2, 2nd, Southeast Division) but need to find a .way to work through the challenges they face now to keep the gap between them and the front-running Washington Capitals from widening and holding the rest of the Eastern Conference at bay.

Up first is a rare home game on Sunday against the Minnesota Wild (7-6-2, 3rd, Northwest Division). The Wild have been streaky so far this season, winning only four games during October but then winning three in a row to start November to work their way back into contention. However, they've now followed that streak up with two consecutive losses. Mikko Koivu leads the Wild in points (14), assists (11) and plus/minus (+5). Niklas Backstrom minds the net with a goals against average of 2.01 and a save percentage of .933.

The Bolts then head to the northeast on Wednesday to face the New York Islanders (4-9-3, 5th, Atlantic Division). The Islanders have lost nine straight and haven't won a game since beating the Lightning in Tampa 3-2 in overtime. James Wisniewski leads the Islanders in points (12) and assists (10). Rick DiPietro is the primary netminder with a goals against average of 4.21 and a save percentage of .854.

On the other end of the Atlantic Division standings, the Lightning will find the Philadelphia Flyers (10-4-2, 1st, Atlantic Division) on Thursday. The Flyers have won eight of their last ten and have built a five-point cushion between them and the 2nd place New York Rangers. Danny Breire leads the Flyers in goals with eight while Mike Richards has chipped in with 10 assists. Sergei Bobrovsky is the main man between the pipes with a goals against average of 2.09 and a .931 save percentage.

The Bolts close out the week's action with a trip to upstate New York to take on the Buffalo Sabres (5-9-3, 5th, Northeast Division). The Sabres have lost seven of their last ten and have suffered two separate five-game losing streaks so far this season. Derek Roy leads the Sabres in goals (8), assists (10) and points (18). One of the Sabres' biggest problems is the loss of all-star goaltender Ryan Miler, on injured reserve with a knee injury. Filling in has been the tandem of Patrick Lalime and Jhonas Enroth.

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