Victor Hedman to miss third straight game
Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman's illness will force him to miss his third straight game tonight against the Sharks.
Coach Jon Cooper had hoped Hedman would be ready for tonight, but that's not the case. Hedman had came out for warmups Monday against the Kings before leaving early. He's with the team in San Jose, just not ready yet.
Asked if Hedman could play by Saturday, Cooper said they're taking it "game-by-game."
"It's unfortunate," Cooper said.
The Lightning could use Hedman against the defending Western Conference champion Sharks, who have arguably the league's top defenseman in Brent Burns (19 goals, 27 assists). "An all world player," Cooper said. "He can really dictate a game."
The Lightning (21-20-5) has taken three of four possible points in the first two games of this trip, and has played better overall in its last four. Tampa Bay has allowed seven regulation goals the past four games.
"We're clearly in desperation mode," Cooper said. "It's shown in our play a little bit. Everybody understands where we're at. Every single game, we have to get points."
More notes: After G Ben Bishop started back-to-back games Monday and Tuesday, G Andrei Vasilevskiy will start against the Sharks..... LW Joel Vermin joined C Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn during the morning skate, a good indication he'll draw in over Erik Condra. Cooper said it'll be a game-time decision... RW J.T. Brown (upper body) will miss his sixth straight game. He skated again in a red non-contact jersey Thursday, but until he gets full contact in a practice, he's not ready... C Brayden Point (upper body) skated after the team's session in a red jersey, saying he's been on the ice 3-4 times since he got hurt Dec. 28. Point, who appears to have hurt his right hand/wrist, said he's been stickhandling and shooting too. He got hurt by a shot in front of the Canadiens net, and was expected to miss 4-6 weeks. "I thought I was playing better as of recently before I got hurt," Point said. "It's not what you want. But you can't let it get you down." While the NHL sent a memo Monday that goalies must start wearing the new streamlined pants by Feb. 4, that's not a problem for G Ben Bishop and G Andrei Vasilevskiy. Both have been wearing the new pants since November. "I can't tell the difference anymore," Bishop said. Bishop said the pants are more rounded, with no thick pad on the side.