Scouting the Enemy: Tampa Bay Lightning

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Record:7-16-9

Leading scorers:Vinny Lecavalier (12G, 15A, 27pts), Martin St. Louis (12G, 15A, 27pts)

Blogs: Bolts Blog

It may be hard to fathom but it's true - this is the first regular season game against the Lightning.  Perhaps they left such a lasting impression during the preseason that I could've sworn the Penguins have played them once already.  Oh well.

Hey remember that time during the preseason when the Penguins best power-play point man was sent into the boards during a late hit by David Koci and was later shelved for the season with a shoulder injury?  Me too, and hopefully the Pens haven't forgotten either.

Unfortunately payback on Koci is not an option because he is no longer with the Lightning.  That doesn't mean the Pens should play any less physical.

The Lightning haven't exactly done any better under the reigns of former Penguin Rick Tocchet than they did while Barry Melrose was still in town.  In fact they've yet to break 10 wins, Gary Roberts announced he will retire after the season and Ryan Malone is without a goal in December (although he has been hurt). 

Mark Recchi, Martin St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier remain the point getters for the Lightning as they once again find themselves in staunch competition with the Islanders for last place in the league. 

The weak point for Tampa isn't necessarily a lack of chemistry, muscle and coaching but more specifically embedded in their weak defense and goaltending.  Mike Smith isn't bad when under fire but his defense hardly bails him out.

Should be an interesting one tonight at Mellon Arena.

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