Sunday, May 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

How the Lightning plans to handle the three-goalie rotation

With all veteran Peter Budaj has been through in his career, he said this was the first time he's had to miss a game due to injury.

And Budaj, 35, ended up sidelined for two and a half months with a high ankle sprain suffered Dec. 29. Budaj returned Monday from a conditioning assignment with AHL Syracuse and will back up Andrei Vasilevskiy tonight against the Senators.

"It was a bad situation when I was hurt," Budaj said. "But one injury in 15 years? I'm very blessed."

With Budaj back, Louis Domingue was sent back to Syracuse. Domingue, 26, had played well in relief of Budaj, winning five of his seven starts with Tampa Bay (four on the road).

Sending Domingue back to Syracuse is likely a temporary thing to get him some work. Tampa Bay doesn't play again until Saturday, when Vasilevskiy is expected to start in the showdown with the Bruins.

The Lightning can carry three goalies as there are no roster limits after the deadline. Domingue can get sent down without having to clear waivers until he plays in 10 NHL games with Tampa Bay; he's appeared in eight.

"There's only two nets," coach Jon Cooper said. "So somebody is going to have to sit on the sideline. It's not ideal, but again, it's another position where you need everybody and unfortunately (Budaj) got hurt and it was a long-lasting injury, which those are always tough. It's about balancing.

"We've got 12 games left, and Vasilevskiy is going to get most of the starts, and who will be in for those other ones, will have to be seen. But those guys are a big part of why we're here right now and whenever they're called upon, they have to be ready."

The 600 club

Captain Steven Stamkos, one of the game's elite scorers, marveled at the Capitals' Alex Ovechkin reaching the 600-goal milestone Monday night (in 900 games played.

Stamkos has 348 in 655.

"It's pretty remarkable," Stamkos said. "To do it in that many games in this era, he's definitely the best goal scorer of my generation, for sure. And he's still got lots left in the tank, which is a scary thing."

Blueline shuffle

With nine defensemen, the Lightning is trying to make sure to shuffle to keep everyone sharp. And that meant on Tuesday that D Jake Dotchin was out, with D Braydon Coburn back in.

Dotchin, however, has impressed coaches with  his play the past couple games. "Jake last game he was solid," associate coach Rick Bowness said. "Very dependable defensively, which he needs to be. He made high-percentage plays on the breakout. And when he could, he was physical.  The way he played last game, that's exactly how we need him to play."

Slap shots

D Slater Koekkoek, D Andrej Sustr, C Cory Conacher are also expected to be scratched tonight. … D Ryan McDonagh continues to be paired with former Rangers partner Dan Girardi, with Bowness saying it'll stay that way for a while. … The lines stayed the same with J.T. Miller-Steven Stamkos-Nikita Kucherov/Yanni Gourde-Brayden Point-Tyler Johnson/Adam Erne-Anthony Cirelli-Alex Killorn/Chris Kunitz-Cedric Paquette-Ryan Callahan. … Congratulations to Conacher and his wife, Shannon, who recently learned they're expecting their first child, a son, in August.

Comments
Expansion Vegas advances to Stanley Cup final

Expansion Vegas advances to Stanley Cup final

WINNIPEG — The Vegas Golden Knights are going to the Stanley Cup final — with a chip on their shoulder."Everybody on this team has something to prove," forward Ryan Reaves said. "We call ourselves 'The Golden Misfits' for a reason. We're ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Familiar ground for Capitals as they face elimination

Lightning-Capitals: Familiar ground for Capitals as they face elimination

TAMPA – Capitals G Braden Holtby basically summed up playoff life for the Capitals after Saturday's Game 5 loss in the Eastern Conference final when he said the team never makes it easy for itself."No, we don't," coach Barry Trotz agreed Sunday...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: In playoffs, Lightning and its town become one

Lightning-Capitals: In playoffs, Lightning and its town become one

TAMPA — The Lightning is a win away from a trip to the Stanley Cup final. Its Game 5 win Saturday, to take a 3-2 lead over the Washington Capitals, was another chapter of a story being written on the fly."Think about Game 1 in New Jersey,"...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Lightning keeps Alex Ovechkin under control

Lightning-Capitals: Lightning keeps Alex Ovechkin under control

TAMPA — Alex Ovechkin headed toward the Capitals' locker room two hours before the start of Saturday's Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final with the swagger of an elite athlete that suggested he was about take over a game and make life misera...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

TAMPA — A two-goal lead was suddenly only one, and the Washington Capitals, having pulled their goalie, had a furious 96-second siege.Andrei Vasilevskiy made the last three of his 28 saves to preserve the Lightning's 3-2 victory Saturday in Gam...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/20/18
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

TAMPA — Dan Girardi knew where the puck was heading. It was heading to Alex Ovechkin for a one-timer on net, so Girardi did the only thing he could do. He blocked it.With his rump."It hit me right in the cheek," said Girardi, the Lightning defe...
Published: 05/19/18
Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory in Game 5

Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory in Game 5

TAMPA — Faster than Justify down the stretch at the Preakness, quicker than Harry and Meghan walked down the aisle at Windsor Castle, the Lightning jumped on Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final. No runaway gallop. No funny hats. Just ho...
Published: 05/19/18
Lightning-Capitals: How Ryan Callahan and his linemates overwhelmed the Caps

Lightning-Capitals: How Ryan Callahan and his linemates overwhelmed the Caps

TAMPA — They're called grinders. Pluggers. Checkers.They're lunch-pail guys. Like 9-to-5ers. They get up every day and go to work. They punch in and punch out for no glory or credit. But the business would fall apart without them.They're the fo...
Published: 05/19/18
Lightning-Capitals: Quick strike, but not the quickest ever

Lightning-Capitals: Quick strike, but not the quickest ever

TAMPA — Cedric Paquette needed only 19 seconds to put the Lightning on the scoreboard Saturday night, coming up with the second-fastest playoff goal in franchise history.The only goal faster? Tampa Bay's Adam Hall needed only 13 seconds to scor...
Published: 05/19/18
Lightning-Capitals: Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Tampa Bay’s 3-2 win

Lightning-Capitals: Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Tampa Bay’s 3-2 win

It's one thing to get a quick goal from one of your big guns, but when the goal scorer is a grinder like Cedric Paquette, who was only on the ice at the start to counter the Capitals' top line, that just sends a jolt through the bench.The Caps' first...
Published: 05/19/18