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Goalies likely to begin rotation

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 19, 2000


ST. PAUL, Minn. -- In a bit of a surprise, Lightning goaltender Kevin Weekes made his third consecutive start in Wednesday night's game against the Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

Coach Steve Ludzik said he wants to get into a rotation with Weekes and Dan Cloutier, but the plan will likely be tweaked now and then.

This was apparently one of those situations.

"Sometimes you have to go with your gut," Ludzik said. "Weekes deserves a chance. Clouts deserves a chance, too. I don't want him to think he is not playing well."

Weekes was 1-1 with a 2.52 goals-against average entering the game. Cloutier is 0-1-1 with a 3.84 goal-against average after facing 77 shots in the season's first two games. Both had an .896 save percentage.

"I thought I played well enough to get a chance to play," Cloutier said. "I was p----- off, but it's (Ludzik's) decision and there's nothing I can do about it. All I can do is keep working hard."

Ludzik said Cloutier will play Saturday against the Devils.

BIERK'S BACK: Goaltender Zac Bierk, whom the Lightning lost to the Wild in the expansion draft, was called up from the IHL's Columbus Lumberjacks to back up Jamie McLennan. Manny Fernandez is out with a sprained ankle.

"I was excited to be wanted by another team," Bierk, 24, said. "At the same time, I was with Tampa since I was 19. Even though I wasn't able to crack the lineup, I enjoyed my time there."

WILD THINGS: The 18,600-seat Xcel Energy Center gives a large nod to the popularity of high school hockey in Minnesota by hanging the jerseys of all teams in its concourse.

The team sold more than 15,000 season tickets.

"You can't ask for better from the fans," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "They are very supportive and very understanding of what's going on. They want the guys to work and have a chance to win. They know it's coming."

Still, Lemaire admits to a bit of uncertainty.

"Even now, I go home and I get flashes. Is Dougie happy with what I'm doing?" he said of general manager Doug Risebrough. "But he knows what I'm trying to do with the club and why we lose games."

ODDS AND ENDS: Fredrik Modin's nose was to be X-rayed after the game. The left wing took an inadvertent stick blade to the face from teammate Todd Warriner during Tuesday's practice. Modin wore a visor during the game. ... Defenseman Andrei Zyuzin and left wing Kyle Freadrich were healthy scratches.

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