Namestnikov could be out again, Palat game-time decision
After several weeks of being healthy up front, the Lightning may be without center Vladislav Namestnikov for the second straight game.
Namestnikov suffered an upper body injury Sunday getting hit hard into the boards, and missed Tuesday's game against the Sharks. Though Namestnikov practiced Wednesday, he could be held out again tonight vs. Winnipeg.
RW Jonathan Marchessault could draw in again if Namestnikov can't go.
"He’s sore," coach Cooper said. "I don’t think it’s a long-term thing. We’re just throwing a little caution to the wind here with him, and hopefully we’ll see him this weekend."
Also, LW Ondrej Palat is the latest Lightning player to come down with the flu, with Cooper calling him a game-time decision for tonight. Anton Stralman, Valtteri Filppula and Namestnikov, along with Cooper, have all had their bouts with the illness in recent weeks, but no player has missed a game due to it yet.
“It’s a tough time on our team because it’s just picking guys off one by one,” Cooper said. “It’s not one where you’re, you can’t play through these.”
More notes: G Andrei Vasilevskiy will start in net tonight for the Lightning. Tonight is an important game for the Lightning, which has lost four of its last five and will start a stretch with six of the next seven on the road. Tampa Bay entered today in ninth in the East. “Eight days ago, nine days ago, we’re feeling pretty good about ourselves, and then five quick games later, we’re looking up and seeing a whole bunch of teams ahead of us,” Cooper said. “That’s the one thing too, you have to kind of put a cork in the hole here and stop the leaking here because I think we’ve got four (games) in six (days) coming up and a three in four and then another four in six. The games are going to just start piling up, and a lot of them are on the road."