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Lightning get healthy over two-day break

Ryan Callahan is probable for Thursday's game against the Canucks.


Ryan Callahan is probable for Thursday's game against the Canucks.



Two days off did the Lightning a lot of good.

That was easy to see in Wednesday's nearly-90 minute practice at Amalie Arena.

"You could just tell, guys looked fresher, had a little jump in their step," coach Jon Cooper said.

And Tampa Bay is getting back to full strength. Ryan Callahan (lower body), Jason Garrison (lower body) and wing Jonathan Drouin (undisclosed) all practiced Wednesday. Cooper said Callahan and Garrison are probable for Thursday's game against the Canucks, and Drouin could return, too, though he's between probable and questionable.

Callahan said his surgically-repaired hip was nagging him, but he's felt better skating the past two days and was "encouraged" with how it went Wednesday. Garrison, who took a shot off the outside of his knee, looked good in practice, skating alongside usual partner Andrej Sustr.

But more than physically, the two-day break was also mentally refreshing for a Lightning team that had played 14 games in 25 days. You can see Tampa Bay slowly getting its confidence back after snapping a four-game losing streak Saturday. The Lightning has racked up three out of possible four points the past two games, allowing a combined two goals.

"I think everybody saw how good we can play when we follow our structure," defenseman Anton Stralman said. "Now we just have to build off that."

Wing Alex Killorn explained it best this way. "When you go through those streaks, it's kind of like you're going into games just waiting for something bad to happen," Killorn said. "I think we've kind of gotten over that. You've got to be the instigator. Got to be the aggressor, and take over games."

The Lightning, having scored two regulation goals the past two games, worked on a few things offensively Wednesday. And Tampa Bay knows it can't let up, having fallen to one point out of the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and one point out of third place in the Atlantic Division.

"It's a great opportunity for us to get back on track," Killorn said. "We're starting to figure things out."



[Last modified: Wednesday, December 7, 2016 1:53pm]


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