Friday, October 10, 2008

Lightning open North American schedule Tomorrow

By JC De La Torre

The Tampa Bay Lightning make their North American debut on Saturday night against the Carolina Hurricanes at the St. Pete Times Forum. The Lightning will look slightly different than the one that went to the Czech Republic.

Tampa Bay traded defenseman Shane O'Brien, one of the last of former GM Jay Feaster's horrible trades, and Forward Michel Ouellet to the Vancouver Canucks for defenseman Lukas Krajicek and a minor leaguer. O'Brien never fit in to the Lightning's system under John Tortorella and seemed to be in the same boat with new head coach Barry Melrose.

The Lightning will look to shake off the 0-2 start, as they've had several practices this week, working primarily on the forecheck and puck possession. The Lightning woefully lacked physicality against the Rangers in the first two games, losing many of the one-on-one battles, which contributed to an unbelievable amount of shots against the Lightning netminders.

This has got to change to allow the Bolts snipers Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, and Steven Stamkos to get going.

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