When B.J. Crombeen saw his name was listed on the starting lineup, along with Pierre-Cedric Labrie, the message was clear that there was a message to deliver.
"It's easy to get pushed out of buildings, and that's not going to happen with this team this year,'' Crombeen said.
So almost immediate as the puck was dropped to open Monday's game, Crombeen dropped the gloves to square off against New York's Matt Martin while Labrie did the same against Islanders D Joe Finley. Once those players were all settled in the penalty box, as the teams were lined up for the faceoff again, Ryan Malone and Colin McDonald began to exchange a few shoves, resulting in matching unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
The result was 24 minutes in penalties handed out with one second elapsed on the clock, but there was also a desired result from the opening faceoff incidents.
"We definitely haven't had a start like that, which I thought was great, it showed a lot,'' Malone said. "This year, we have a lot more size and grit to us, and that's nice to have.''
Given some of the road performances the Lightning have had in recent seasons, Lightning coach Guy Boucher wanted to ensure there was spark at the beginning of the game.
"We didn't want to look horrible the way we have the last few years here, because some of our worst games ever were here,'' Boucher said. "And we looked just so bad that we wanted to bring some emotion to the start.''
Already in the past
C Vinny Lecavalier appeared in his 1,000th career game, but it certainly did not end the way he would have liked, on the losing side of a 4-3 result to the Islanders.
"For me, it's a number and I'm proud of it, but I've already moved on,'' said Lecavalier, who played 17 minutes, 18 seconds while registering one shot and finishing minus-2.
The Lightning captain became the 49th player to appear in 1,000 games with the same franchise and the 280th player in league history to reach the milestone. He also ranks fifth all-time for games played by a first overall pick for the team that drafted him.
Lecavalier will be honored before Tampa Bay's game at home on Friday against Ottawa. As part of the celebration, Reebok has purchased 1,000 tickets to the game for fans to win by visiting the Lightning's official Facebook page.
Tampa Bay's top pick in the 2012 draft, D Slater Koekkoek, has been shut down for the season and will require a second shoulder surgery that will keep him out four to six months. Koekkoek had the same surgery on the same shoulder last season, limiting him to 26 games. He appeared in 40 games for Peterborough this season, scoring six goals and 28 points, before being traded to Windsor, where he appeared in only two games before being shut down.
Koekkoek was in Tampa over the weekend to be looked at by Lightning team doctors.
"The first procedure he had, it failed, so he needs to have it redone,'' Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman said.
Tampa Bay acquired F Jean-Francois Jacques from the Florida Panthers on Monday for future considerations. Jacques is expected to report to Syracuse, the Lightning's affiliate in the American Hockey League.
Jacques, who played for Syracuse last year as a member of Anaheim's organization, was a second-round pick of Edmonton in 2003. The 6-foot-3, 231-pound winger appeared in 166 career NHL games with Edmonton and Anaheim, registering nine goals, 17 points and 197 penalty minutes.
Nuts and Bolts
RW Teddy Purcell played only 14 minutes, 32 seconds. … Rookie LW Cory Conacher had his second-consecutive multi-point game to start his NHL career after picking up a pair of assists Monday. … Islanders coach Jack Capuano was behind the bench despite undergoing surgery for kidney stones on Saturday that forced him to miss the season opener.