Tocchet's debut a downer
One practice wasn't enough for Rick Tocchet to correct all that was wrong with the Lightning.
Tocchet lost his debut as Tampa Bay's coach when Tuomo Ruutu and Rod Brind'Amour scored in the shootout and Cam Ward stopped two shots to give Carolina a 3-2 victory yesterday in Raleigh, N.C.
"It's a step in the right direction," Tocchet said. "I thought the guys played well, I think they're really starting to get what we're trying to do here."
Tocchet became a head coach for the first time when Barry Melrose was fired Friday after Tampa Bay lost three straight games. A veteran of 18 NHL seasons, Tocchet perhaps is best known for his role in a sports betting ring that led to a league suspension.
He rejoined the Phoenix Coyotes as an assistant in February, then was hired by Melrose in the offseason.
"The last thing I need to do is show the guys that I'm too anxious or stuff like that," said Tocchet. "I actually was very calm, so it was kind of surreal, kind of fun."
Vincent Lecavalier and Jussi Jokinen failed to score in the shootout. Brind'Amour also scored in regulation.
One of Tocchet's first decisions was to reunite the line of Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, and Vinny Prospal, which had been separated for a game by Melrose, and it paid immediate dividends. Lecavalier and St. Louis scored in the same game for the first time this season to give the Lightning a 2-0 lead.
Canadiens 3, Blues 2 - Alexei Kovalev scored the lone shootout goal to give Montreal a victory in St. Louis. Andrei Kostitsyn and Robert Lang scored in regulation for the Canadiens, who won for the second time in six games after starting the season 8-1-1. Carey Price stopped 24 shots.
Sharks 6, Blackhawks 5 - Devin Setoguchi's power-play goal with 4:15 left helped San Jose hand Chicago its first regulation home loss this season.
Flyers 4, Thrashers 3 - Joffrey Lupul scored the go-ahead goal in the third period as host Philadelphia snapped Atlanta's five-game winning streak.
Ducks 2, Kings 0 - Corey Perry and Bret Hedican scored and Jonas Hiller made 29 saves for his first NHL shutout as host Anaheim beat Los Angeles.