TAMPA — Though a little sloppy and somewhat sluggish, a scrimmage on Monday provided the Tampa Bay Lightning a bit of a respite from the first three days of training camp drills.
Marty St. Louis and Brett Connolly each scored for Team White, while Ondrej Palat scored for Team Blue on Monday. Another scrimmage will take place Tuesday at 11:45 a.m. at the Forum.
Four goaltenders saw action on Monday. Ben Bishop stopped all four shots he faced for Team Blue in the first half. He was opposed by Anders Lindback, who allowed one goal on nine shots. Cedrick Desjardins finished with four saves for Team White in the second half, while Riku Helenius allowed two goals on five shots.
Palat scored on a scramble near the net on a puck that squeezed through Lindback. Connolly redirected a pass from Jonathan Drouin, while St. Louis converted a 2-on-1 with Steven Stamkos that started when defenseman Slater Koekkoek fell just inside the offensive blue line.
The biggest takeaway from Monday’s game-style action was getting a feel for the puck in something other than a drill.
“That’s as close are you going to get to playing in exhibition games to gear yourself up,’’ Stamkos said. “So, guys just have to be smart with no big hits, no fighting, but just little game situations where you don’t have as much time with the puck — faceoffs, defensive zone, stuff like that. It was a pretty good pace, just sort of feeling it out and get back into game atmosphere.’’
For head coach Jon Cooper, the scrimmage offered the first opportunity to see some of the system work done earlier in camp put into motion.
“It was far from perfection, but they worked really hard, so that was a good sign,’’ Cooper said. “They actually did a lot of good things. It was a little sloppy, but (there was) recognition of some defensive situations, our defensemen were gapping up well, just little things that maybe had not gone on in the past at the end of the year.’’
Cooper said that
The rosters will be shuffled for Tuesday’s scrimmage, Cooper said, with some players who didn’t play Monday getting an opportunity. The scrimmage is open to the public starting at 11:30 a.m. and will be streamed live on www.tampabaylightning.com, with radio voice Dave Mishkin providing the play-by-play.
During the scrimmage action, D Keith Aulie gave rookie RW Adam Erne a welcome-to-the-club hit as the big defenseman stepped up and dropped Erne to the ice near the blue line after Erne delivered a pass. The hit obviously caught the Lightning’s second-round pick, in his first NHL training camp, by surprise.
“I didn’t think we were open-ice hitting, that was one of the rules, but I guess we were,’’ Erne said with a smile.
For Erne, a standout for the Lightning prospect team that went undefeated in a four-team tournament in Coral Springs earlier this month, it’s been a series of gradual adjustments over the two weeks he has been in camp.
“From development camp to this camp to this first (scrimmage) game, they ease you into it and do a good job of that so it doesn’t all hit you at once,’’ he said.
Twice during the scrimmage, Cooper stopped play to offer direction about what he wanted to see in particular situations, though he said not to expect that on Tuesday.
“Sometimes when you let it wait, all of a sudden the scenario is forgotten,” he said. “So, I felt it was important to go out there in a few situations and talk about it. Guys have to learn ...and we have a lot of work to do. But if they keep giving the same effort they have been giving, this is a great base to start with.’’