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Friday, Nov 24, 2017
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Bolts notes: Preseason opens tonight at St. Louis

BRANDON - The Lightning plan to make a day trip for the preseason opener, flying to St. Louis in this afternoon to face the Blues at ScottTrade Center tonight. The game starts a stretch of four in five nights to open the preseason for Tampa Bay, including a game Wednesday night in Orlando at Amway Center against the Blues. Tampa Bay will take a team lacking in star power to St. Louis, instead saving many of the Lightning's top players to make their debut in Orlando. The line combinations for tonight are scheduled to be Carter Ashton-Dominic Moore-Steve Downie; Mattias Ritola-Nate Thompson-Ryan Shannon; Dana Tyrell-Adam Hall-Alex Picard; and JT Wyman-Mike Angelidis-Eric Neilson.
The defense pairings are expected to be Victor Hedman-Brett Clark; Mark Barberio-Pavel Kubina; and Richard Petiot-Radko Gudas. Mathieu Garon is scheduled to start in goal, with Jaroslav Janus expected to play the second half. While winning is always a goal, plenty of evaluation will take place by the coaching and the management staff. "For me, I sit up there and watch players individually," GM Steve Yzerman said. "Are they fast enough to keep up with the play? Are they physically strong enough? Can they think the game well? I'm watching the game a little bit differently than the coaches who are trying to watch them play the system and if they can fit into that. "Obviously, you want to win every game, and we are playing a lot of inexperienced guys and a lot of new faces in the lineup. But I watch individuals and see if they are ready to play another preseason game and where would they fit into our lineup.'' Fleming from afar Yzerman and Boucher remain in contact with assistant coach Wayne Fleming, who is recovering in his hometown of Calgary, Alberta, from surgery to remove a brain tumor in April. "He's attacking his rehab vigorously and I think he is very encouraged by the setup he has there,'' Yzerman said. "What we miss is, he is an experienced guy who has seen it all and been through it all. He comes out and runs practice and you hear his booming voice on the ice. "But he watches, he's on top of things and he is antsy, so I'll talk to him on a regular basis. He has the ability to sit there and watch games, rewind and fast forward, you can pick up a lot. So, he's got a good hockey mind, he knows players and he'll be very helpful still from back home.'' Injury updates G Dustin Tokarski underwent a pair of MRI tests on Monday as the team tries to figure out what is keeping the 22-year-old net minder off the ice. There is concern, Yzerman said, Tokarski's situation is similar to what kept former D Mike Lundin out for a month last season. The results of the exams were expected late Monday. Also, D Scott Jackson will be out indefinitely as he recovers from offseason surgery to clean up his left knee. Jackson is expected to resume skating soon, Yzerman said. D Charles Landry remained off the ice for the second consecutive day after he was injured during a drill on Saturday. Landry did not show symptoms of a concussion, head coach Guy Boucher said, but the team is being cautious with the 20-year-old blue liner. Landry is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Nuts and Bolts The Lightning reassigned D Adam Janosik (Gatineau) and D Geoffrey Schemitsch (Owen Sound) to their junior teams. The cuts leave Tampa Bay with 54 players in training camp. … The non-game group of players is scheduled to practice from 10-11:30 a.m. at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon.
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