Not exactly a banner night for the ice crew at the Tampa Bay Times Forum…
Prior to the game, the officials announced due to ice conditions in the visitor crease, the teams will change ends at the 10-minute mark.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) January 10, 2014
According to Caps beat reporter Mike Vogel, both of the club’s GMs — Steve Yzerman and George McPhee — were down on the benches prior to the game, trying to get a handle on the situation. The Washington Post’s Katie Carrera reported seeing a “lopsided” crease in the visitor’s end, the product of uneven ice.
Tonight’s game was the Lightning’s first home date since Dec. 29. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus had been occupying the Times Forum for the last while as the Bolts were on a four-game road swing.
While no official ruling has been announced yet, it’s possible the clubs will continue to switch ends at the 10 minute mark of the second and third periods (and perhaps even the 2:30 mark of overtime, should the game be tied at the end of regulation.) This scenario is somewhat similar to the 2014 Winter Classic, when the Leafs and Red Wings switched ends midway through the third period and OT session because of the wind factor at the Big House.
Tonight’s shoddy ice didn’t seem to affect the Caps. They took a 3-1 lead into the first intermission on goals from Eric Fehr, Mikhail Grabovski and Marcus Johansson.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) January 10, 2014