Downie won't make trip, out vs. Capitals and Penguins
Lightning coach Guy Boucher said this morning that RW Steve Downie will not make the team's two-game trip to Washington and Pittsburgh, meaning the team will be without another top-six forward in the tough back-to-back matchups.
Downie has been battling a back injury, but has also apparently been experiencing some neck pain since the Kings' Drew Doughty hit him from behind in Thursday's game. So the Lightning is keeping him back as a precaution, and trying to figure out if the neck issue is related to the back injury, or whether perhaps there may have been a concussion.
Downie played Saturday against San Jose and said Tuesday morning he felt he was good to go against the Leafs - and so did Boucher. But Downie was a late scratch with Boucher saying it was an organizational call. Boucher reiterated Wednesday that Downie is feeling better, and could return Sunday against the Wild.
"It's not bad, he's much better today," Boucher said. "But he wouldn't play in the two games anyways, so keep him here, rest and have him back probably this weekend."
Downie didn't practice Wednesday and was unavailable for comment.
*Other notes from practice: It appears Boucher is leaning towards starting Dan Ellis in goal Thursday night, as he's coming off an impressive shutout Tuesday night against the Leafs.....Boucher said he didn't have any results yet from LW Simon Gagne's nerve conduction test that he underwent Tuesday afternoon.
-- JOE SMITH