Nearly a year ago, around 3 a.m. on Dec. 26, Tom Mulligan's phone rang. Phone calls at that time of the morning generally mean trouble. Marty St. Louis was on the other end of the line and told the Tampa Bay Lightning's head medical trainer there was a problem.

St. Louis was calling from the bathroom floor of his Connecticut home, where he had spent most of the night vomiting because of a stomach virus running through the household. St. Louis was scheduled to be on a plane at 6 a.m. to play a game that night in Atlanta.

His streak of playing in 427 consecutive games was in jeopardy.

"I couldn't function,'' St. Louis said.