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Nikita Kucherov, Ryan Callahan expected back for Lightning

Nikita Kucherov is expected to return to the lineup tonight.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Nikita Kucherov is expected to return to the lineup tonight.

31

March

The Lightning is getting back to full strength - at least up front - with wings Nikita Kucherov and Ryan Callahan expected to return to the lineup tonight.

Kucherov had been considered questionable since he missed the last two games with a lower body injury - getting struck in the left foot by a shot Friday. He was back on the ice for Thursday's skate, rejoining captain Steven Stamkos on the top line.

Callahan, who hasn't played since Mar. 17 in Dallas, has also been dealing with a lower-body injury. He was on a line Thursday with Valtteri Filppula and Cedric Paquette. Vladislav Namestnikov moved down to the fourth line with Brian Boyle and J.T. Brown.

It appears RW Mike Blunden and RW Erik Condra will be healthy scratches tonight, along with Slater Koekkoek.

More from today's skate: G Ben Bishop will start in net, coming off  his spectacular 34-save shutout Monday against Toronto... Coach Jon Cooper noted how C Tyler Johnson and LW Ondrej Palat have "elevated their game" since RW Jonathan Marchessault has joined their line. Condra said he got to bring his wife, Ryan and baby daughter Ellery, home last night from the hospital. Ellery, the couple's second child, was born at 3:21 a.m. Tuesday morning, after Monday's 3-0 win. "It was crazy," he said. Condra said Ryan got a message through Ryan Callahan's wife that her contractions were getting serious, so Callahan told Condra after the game, "You better hurry." Condra did, and said both wife and baby are healthy and happy.

[Last modified: Thursday, March 31, 2016 12:56pm]

    

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