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Tyler Johnson played just two shifts in the second period before leaving Saturday.
The Lightning got some encouraging news on the injury front Sunday, as All-Star center Tyler Johnson and wing Alex Killorn are both considered just day-to-day with undisclosed injuries, general manager Steve Yzerman said.
Both got hurt in Saturday's exhibition finale against the Panthers in Sunrise, with Johnson playing just two shifts in the second period before leaving. Killorn played only a couple shifts in the third period before exiting.
Wing Nikita Kucherov (lower body) was also held out of Saturday's game as a precaution, despite participating in the morning skate. Center Cedric Paquette (left foot) has been day-to-day for a week, though coach Jon Cooper expects him to return to practice Monday in Estero.
The season opener is Thursday night against the Flyers.
"I'm hoping that everyone will be ready for Thursday," Yzerman said. …Full Story
Wing Nikita Kucherov was back at Saturday's morning skate, and plans to play tonight in the exhibition finale against the Panthers, which is an encouraging sign for the Lightning.
Kucherov had suffered a lower-body injury early in Thursday's 3-2 win over Dallas, briefly trying to test it before leaving the game for good. He said there's still some pain, but it shouldn't hold him back heading into the season.
"I felt like I couldn't play because my leg wasn't good, so that's why I decided to not force it," Kucherov said. "I'm just glad it wasn't a knee or something else."
In other injury news, center Cedric Paquette continues to be sidelined with a left foot injury suffered last Saturday in Dallas, but Cooper said the gritty forward will return to full participation in Monday's practice in Estero. And there's no concern over Paquette's injury impacting the start of the season. "I wouldn't think so," Cooper said. …Full Story
Wing Nikita Kucherov gave Lightning fans a thrill Thursday night in scoring on the game's first shift.
But then Kucherov gave Tampa Bay a scare when he left the game five minutes later after getting hit hard into the boards by Dallas LW Remi Elie. Kucherov would not return, with the Lightning saying he suffered a lower-body injury.
After the hit, Kucherov was attended to by head athletic trainer Tommy Mulligan before skating off under his own power. Soon Kucherov headed for the dressing room. Kucherov would come back midway through the period for a brief skate during a timeout, presumably to test the injury. But he must not have liked how he felt, going back to the room. It's hard to tell if Kucherov got hurt during hte hit, or on his goal, when he collided with goalie Kari Lehtonen.
Losing Kucherov would be a big blow to the Lightning, considering the Russian wing tied for second on the team in goals last season (29), ranking first in the league in plus-minus (plus-38). Jonathan Drouin and Alex Killorn each filled in on the Triplets line while Kucherov was out.Full Story
From an asset management point of view, putting Kevin Poulin on the roster keeps another goalie (Kristers Gudlevskis) in the system.
With just one week until opening night, the Lightning's backup goalie situation is still a mystery.
And it might be even after the Oct. 8 season opener against the Flyers.
Goalies Kristers Gudlevskis and Kevin Poulin, claimed off waivers Sunday from the Islanders, are the two remaining in-house candidates. But with starter Ben Bishop playing half the game tonight and the full game Saturday, neither will get much more of an opportunity to audition much.
There's also the possibility that the backup goalie isn't in camp yet, with Tampa Bay having the option of seeing what else is available. Jonas Gustavsson, for example, has played well while on a PTO with Boston, but if he leaves without a contract, he could be available.
Coach Jon Cooper insists they're not worried about the uncertainty.
"I don't think you have to make that decision at this point," Cooper said. "There's so many different scenarios. I don't think we can sit here and say just because the goalie we keep is the guy that's going to back up Bish. Someone may go to the American League, play some games and come up. We may bring someone else up. There's so many different scenarios that could go on." …Full Story
Cedric Paquette hopes to return to practice in a couple days and isn't worried this will impact his availability to open the season.
Lightning forward Cedric Paquette briefly returned to the ice after Thursday's skate.
Paquette is still feeling some pain from the blocked shot he took off his left foot in Saturday's game, an injury that caused a cut that required five stitches. But Paquette hopes to return to practice in a couple days and isn't worried this will impact his availability to open the season.
"I think next week it should be 100-percent," he said.
Paquette said the issue is how the cut is pressed against the skate, which is uncomfortable/annoying. But it's getting better each day, and he was encouraged considering how bad it looked Saturday night.
"I thought it was going to be worse than that," Paquette said. …Full Story
Normally, there shouldn't be much to read into preseason results in the NHL.
The regulars don't always play, especially together, with many prospects getting a look.
But captain Steven Stamkos admits he's at least concerned over how the Lightning has executed duddring the first four exhibition games (1-3-1), especially Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Penguins in Johnstown. And Tampa Bay has just two preseason games left, Thursday at home against Dallas and Saturday in Sunrise, before opening the regular season Oct. 8 against the Flyers.
“If we were playing well I wouldn’t be worried," Stamkos said., "But we are not playing very well right now and that’s concerning."
Bad passes. Gaffes in defensive zone coverage. Mistrust between forwards and defensemen. There's been plenty of reasons for it, but coach Jon Cooper said Tampa Bay is giving up way too many goals, 10 in the last two games. And, while Kristers Gudlevskis and Kevin Poulin (as well as recently-released Ray Emery) have played more than starter Ben Bishop, Cooper said it's not completely on the goaltending. …Full Story
Tampa Bay Lightning
Ryan Callahan with the Hanson Brothers.
Lightning veteran wing Ryan Callahan said his older brother used to sneak him downstairs in their Rochester, N.Y. home to watch "Slap Shot."
The iconic 1977 film, starring Paul Newman, was about a fictional minor league hockey team using a brawling style to gain popularity in a declining town of Johnstown.
"I was probably too young to watch it," Callahan quipped.
On Tuesday, the Lightning lived it. As Tampa Bay prepared for tonight's nationally-televised exhibition game against Pittsburgh at Johnstown's War Memorial Arena, where Slap Shots was shot, they were greeted by a large crowd and the actual "Hanson Brothers" from the movie, who were fliming a skit in the dressing room following the morning skate. "I couldn't help but start laughing," Callahan said.
Several players, including Callahan, captain Steven Stamkos and defenseman Anton Stralman, posed for photos with the actors, and cracked some of the most-famous lines.
"It's surreal," center Brian Boyle said.
"It's like a time warp," coach Jon Cooper said.
"Those guys are legends, especially around here," Stamkos said. "They've still got it." …Full Story
Kevin Poulin makes a play on the puck in the first period of a Sept. 23 Islanders-Devils game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
While goaltender Kevin Poulin was in limbo over the weekend, having been put on waivers by the Islanders, he tried not to stress about it.
"Didn't even think about it," Poulin said. "It was out of my control. I was just waiting for the phone to call, but not looking at it for 24 hours. And when it finally rang at noon (Sunday), I was relieved."
That's because Poulin, 25, was claimed by the Lightning, and will get an opportunity to compete for the backup role behind starter Ben Bishop while Andrei Vasilevskiy is out. Poulin joined Tampa Bay in practice Monday, and is on the trip for Tuesday's game in Johnstown, only having three games to make a quick impression.
"They liked that I have NHL experience," Poulin said. "Over the years, I've played (50 games), but I'll just come here and battle for a spot and give the team a chance to win everytime I go out and play."
Poulin does have more NHL experience than Kristers Gudlevskis (three games), his main competition for the backup role. Poulin has also played in 146 games in the AHL for Bridgeport, where Lightning coach Jon Cooper first noticed him. …Full Story
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Cedric Paquette is considered day-to-day.
The Lightning got some encouraging news on the injury front Sunday, with x-rays on Cedric Paquette's left leg negative, the forward considered day-to-day.
Paquette went down late in the third period of Saturday's exhibition in Dallas with an injury to his left leg after he blocked a shot while on the penalty kill. He had to be helped off the ice, but was walking around after the game.
The Lightning returns to practice Monday at 11 a.m. before heading to Johnstown, Penn for a Tuesday exhibition.
"He took a good one. That was a pretty heavy shot," coach Jon Cooper said after Saturday's game. "He's a tough kid, though. Hopefully he's going to be okay."Full Story
Kevin Poulin, a fifth-round pick in 2008, appeared in one game last season for the Islanders.
The battle for the Lightning backup goalie spot just got another twist.
Tampa Bay claimed goalie Kevin Poulin, 25, off waivers from the Islanders on Sunday and released veteran Ray Emery from his tryout contract. So it looks like Poulin and Kristers Gudlevskis will compete to temporarily replace Andrei Vasilevskiy, who will miss at least the first month of the season after vascular surgery.
The Lightning has three exhibitions remaining, Tuesday against the Penguins in Johnstown, Thursday at home against Dallas and Saturday in Sunrise.
Gudlevskis made his exhibition debut Friday after missing the first week with an upper-body injury. Emery has played in two games, giving up six goals Saturday (partly due to an inexperienced lineup in front of him).
With the Islanders set at goalie, Poulin became expendable. Poulin has played in 50 NHL games, going 18-25 with a 3.07 goals against average. Poulin, a fifth-round pick in 2008, appeared in one game last season for the Islanders. He's still young, with time to develop.
Arthur Staple of Newsday was the first to report Poulin getting claimed by Tampa Bay.
The Lightning made a large group of cuts Sunday, reassigning 23 players to AHL Syracuse.
With the Crunch opening camp in France this week, these cuts were expected, with 29 players remaining in camp, not including goalie Kevin Poulin, who was claimed off waivers from the Islanders Sunday.
Some prospects that still remain are Slater Koekkoek, Mike Angelidis and Brayden Point.
Players cut today are: Blujus, Blunden, Broll, Darcy, DeAngelo, Dotchin, Erne, Gourde, Hart, Ikonen, Martindale, McGinn, Mormina, Paradis, Peca, Richard, Tambellini, Toarmina, Vermin, Walcott, Wilcox, York.
Blunden, Paradis, McGinn, Tambellini, Taormina must clear waivers by Monday to join Syracuse.
Lightning goalie Ben Bishop will make his first start of the preseason tonight against the Panthers at Amalie Arena, a good test to see how well his torn groin muscle has healed.
Bishop, who suffered the injury in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, has participated fully in camp so far, saying he's not limited by the injury. But Bishop, who is expected to split the game with backup goalie candidate Kristers Gudlevskis, will be tested more than he has since the playoffs.
"Naturally want to see where he's at," coach Jon Cooper said. "He's had a pretty good camp. Tonight is his first step."
Gudlevskis, 23, will make his preseason debut, having been sidelined early in camp with an upper body injury. Every game he plays in will be important, as he's auditioning to earn the backup spot while Andrei Vasilevskiy is hurt.
Another storyline to watch tonight is captain Steven Stamkos once again playing on a line with wing Jonathan Drouin. The two have been paired ever since camp began, including in the exhibition opener Tuesday against the Predators, when Drouin scored a breakaway goal. …Full Story
The Lightning made its first round of training camp cuts Wednesday, reducing the roster by 10 down to 53.
None of them were a surprise, mostly 2015 draft picks, headlined by second-round pick Mitchell Stephens, who looked good in his NHL exhibition debut Tuesday night. Stephens joins Anthony Cirelli, Cristiano Digiacinto, Bokondji Imama, Mathieu Joseph, Matt Spencer, Ben Thomas and Dennis Yan as getting reassigned to their junior teams. G Philippe Cadorette and D Kevin Gibson were released from their camp tryouts.
Two other junior-eligible players, Brayden Point and Dominik Masin, remain in camp.Full Story
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Tyler Johnson, who suffered a broken wrist in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, doesn't look like he'll be eased into the preseason. He's been taking one-timers, faceoffs.
The Triplets are back.
Lightning forwards Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov - which formed one of the most dangerous lines in the NHL last season - will make their preseason debut tonight against the Predators in Nashville.
The question remains, can they repeat the feat?
"I don't know, I guess we'll get a glimpse tonight," coach Jon Cooper said with a smile. "We hope so. We're counting on it."
The important thing is they're healthy. Johnson, who suffered a broken wrist in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, doesn't look like he'll be eased into the preseason. He's been taking one-timers, faceoffs.
"If there's any limitations, I don't think I'd be playing," Johnson said. "I'm ready to go, ready to get back to play competitive hockey."
The Triplets highlight the Lightning's travel roster for tonight's game, which will be at 7 p.m. on 970-AM (you can also follow my ScribbleLive blog on tampabay.com). Some other regulars who will be on the trip are Vladislav Namestnikov, Andrej Sustr, Nikita Nesterov and J.T. Brown. Jonathan Marchessault, Luke Witkowski.
Some other players are are battling for jobs, but will likely end up in AHL Syracuse like Jeff Tambellini, Tye McGinn, etc. …Full Story
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Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will be in the lineup for tonight's preseason opener against the Predators.
The Lightning will have some star power for its preseason opener tonight against Nashville at Amalie Arena.
Captain Steven Stamkos, along with defenseman Victor Hedman will be in the lineup. Several other regulars, including Alex Killorn, Braydon Coburn, and Jonathan Drouin. The new Lightning wing Erik Condra will also play.
Plenty of the organization's top prospeccts, including Anthony DeAngelo, Slater Koekkoek, Brayden Point and Adam Erne are in the lineup, as is Mitchell Stephens.
Stephens, the Lightning's second-round pick this season, said he was excited to get his first NHL exhibition. Coach Jon Cooper has been impressed with Stephens so far, especially how he can think through things on the ice. "Super attitude," Cooper said. "Great energy, fun to be around,"
DeAngelo, the 2014 first round pick, said he was too nervous in last season's exhibition and was too "tentative." "I just want to go out and play my game," DeAngelo said.
DeAngelo, paired with Hedman, said he was looking forward to learning from "one of the best defensemen in the game."
Veteran goalie Ray Emery, on a camp tryout, will make his first audition for the backup role, splitting the game with Adam Wilcox. …Full Story