After opening Training Camp Sunday in front of their loyal fans, the Tampa Bay Lightning traveled to Germain Arena in Estero Monday.
The top line remained intact from last season, with Steven Stamkos centering Martin St. Louis and Ryan Malone. Barring injury, this likely won’t change before the season begins.
The second line is similar with Vincent Lecavalier centering Teddy Purcell, though the other wing spot remains up for grabs. Early thoughts are that it’s 2012 AHL MVP Cory Conacher‘s to lose. As last season’s final camp cut, Conacher has plenty to prove. It seems he’s doing a good job, as head coach Guy Boucher had him playing the past three days alongside seasoned veterans in Lecavalier and Purcell.
A new third line seems to be taking shape though, with newcomer Benoit Pouliot and Tom Pyatt playing together. From what’s been seen these two are also clicking, as each assisted on goals by the other in today’s scrimmage. I’m not entirely sure who the third forward on this line is, though there’s a possibility it’s either Dana Tyrell or AHL Syracuse call-up Tyler Johnson.
There’s also a change to the team’s grinder line, at least for now, as newbie B.J. Crombeen is playing next to Nate Thompson and Adam Hall.
Defensively, the top two pairings seem pretty much set with Victor Hedman and former Vancouver Canuck, Sami Salo, together at the top. Meanwhile, former Philadelphia Flyer, Matt Carle, and Eric Brewer form the second pair. Past that things can change, though today saw Brendan Mikkelson and Keith Aulie together while Brian Lee and Marc-Andre Bergeron paired up.
Goaltending wise, Boucher told Tampa Bay Times Lightning beat writer Damian Cristodero the following:
We might not decide until Friday night whether to start Anders Lindback or Mathieu Garon in net in Game 1 Saturday at home against the Capitals.
Training camp continues tomorrow and Thursday morning in Estero before the team returns home, holding another open practice at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Friday. The team then begins their 20th Anniversary season Saturday night against division rival, the Washington Capitals, at 7 p.m.