Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman out tonight against Canadiens
Add wing Nikita Kucherov to the list of the Lightning's walking wounded.
Kucherov will not play in tonight's regular season finale, with coach Jon Cooper indicating he's a little banged up. Kucherov has been seen limping around; he had been sidelined in recent weeks after taking a shot off his foot.
Cooper said he's not concerned about Kucherov for Game 1 of the playoffs Wednesday.
"There are guys that are banged up," Cooper said. "And this is a game you still don't want to lose your structure, want to have your compete, we don't play until Wednesday. But there's a part of you need to put your best foot forward on Wednesday, and if you can get guys a little bit more rest, especially this time of year, to heal some wounds, then so be it. Kuch is one of those guys."
Defenseman Victor Hedman, who missed the last two games with an upper body injury, skated again this morning and wanted to play. But both he and the team decided to sit him out, making sure he's 100 percent for Wednesday.
"You want to be 100 percent, you don't to risk too much before the playoffs start," Hedman said. "That's the decision made. Look forward to Wednesday."
Wing Ryan Callahan (lower body) did not skate, with the goal for him to be ready for the playoffs to start. "I haven't been told otherwise," Cooper said.
More from morning skate: G Andrei Vasilevskiy will start in net... RW Jonathan Drouin couldn't have drawn his return up any better, score the game-winning goal in his first game Thursday, then return home to Montreal for tonight's finale. "It was a nice scenario," he said. "It's definitely cool. It makes it special that it's the Bell Centre." After getting all the emotions - and hoopla - out of the way in Thursday's return, Drouin feels more comfortable heading into tonight. "I'm more comfortable, more relaxed," he said. "It was a while since I had played in NHL, so definitely more comfortable." Cooper could sense a more engaged Drouin on the bench Thursday, saying he was more vocal than he had been before.."You can see he's getting more confidence in himself," Cooper said. "And when you get a confident player, especially of his talent level, it can be pretty fun to watch." The lines got shuffled, with RW Jonathan Marchessault taking Kucherov's spot with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat. Drouin is playing with Killorn and Valtteri Filppula. Namestnikov-Paquette-Brown/Blunden-Boyle-Condra.