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Lightning loose coming out of All-Star break

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TAMPA, Fla. | The Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t reconvene on the ice for Monday’s practice until almost 6 p.m. It was well after 7 when they finally stepped off following a hard workout that featured Guy Boucher yelling “That’s not good enough” and plenty of players doing push-ups.

But during Monday’s practice and after, it was clear this was a loose group. The Lightning have won four in a row and the confidence was flowing. Boucher was all smiles about an All-Star break vacation and players could be heard laughing hysterically after practice at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Getting a handful of players back, including defenseman Victor Hedman, is part of that. Even Steven Stamkos, who flew home to Florida from Ottawa and the NHL All-Star Game, looked re-energized.

But Boucher cautioned that his team can’t be loose or play too “pretty” against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night. After this much time off, he said it’s going to be an ugly sort of game that will require even extra concentration.

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