Two games into his rapid recovery from facial injuries, Tampa Bay Lightning alternate captain Marty St. Louis still finds himself adjusting to some new gear.

St. Louis returned to action on Dec. 21, less than two weeks after being struck near his left eye with an errant puck on the morning of Dec. 8. As soon as his vision cleared up and he felt well enough, St. Louis said it was time to get back to the action.

But for the next month, the 36-year-old must wear a full metal cage to protect his face, something he has not done since his senior season at the University of Vermont. Putting the mesh cover over his face, along with the chin rest at the bottom, has altered to an extent his feeling on the ice.

"With the cage, it almost feels like you have somebody on top of you all the time," St. Louis said. "You know there isn't, but you just feel like there are people on you. I lose a lot of pucks in my skates because of the chin (strap) …but you just have to get used to it."

Some of the adjustments have limited his effectiveness.

"I don't know if it's the cage or that I haven't played in two weeks, the poise with the puck the confidence, the patience,'' he said.