Friday, February 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Andrej Sustr jumps back into action

TAMPA — The Lightning didn't waste time getting Andrej Sustr back in the lineup Saturday against the Stars after his Friday callup from AHL Syracuse.

Tampa Bay likes the 6-foot-8 rookie defenseman's right-handed shot, his poise under pressure and that he makes such a good first pass in the defensive zone.

But Sustr also provided some offense when he got his first NHL goal 6:44 into the second period as he drove to the net and put in a rebound of Ryan Malone's shot to cut Dallas' lead to 3-2.

"It was exciting," Sustr said. "Unfortunately, it came in a loss, so it's bittersweet. I'd definitely trade it for a win."

Sustr also admitted being out of position on Tyler Seguin's goal that gave the Stars a 3-0 first-period lead. "Yeah, trying to figure out the systems," he said.

Still, Sustr got 20:27 of ice time and had two shots, a hit, a block and a takeaway.

"Great hockey sense," associate coach Rick Bowness said. "A good passer, waits for the seams to open and then moves it well."

Sustr, 23, made the big club out of training camp and had played 38 games with seven assists, an average 15:28 of ice time and at plus-4 when he was sent to the Crunch in mid January, ostensibly because he could be moved without clearing waivers.

But Sustr played only 12 games with the Crunch because of a separated left shoulder. The injury gave the 225-pounder an opportunity to work on his lower-body strength, a good start on his summer workout program that will target overall conditioning.

"The kid knows how to play," Bowness said. "He's going to be in this league a long time."

THROWN OUT: D Radko Gudas got a five-minute major and a match penalty in the first period for an illegal hit to the head. Gudas is technically suspended until a league review.

It was a strange play. It seemed Dallas' Antoine Roussel, bent over and with his head down, skate into Gudas from behind.

"I was surprised at the severity of the call, but by no means am I sitting here saying the ref made a bad call," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "(Roussel's) helmet came off, and he's lying there. That's the stuff they're trying to take out of the game, and they probably will err on the side of protecting the injured player and penalizing something that I think looked worse than it was."

TIRELESS: Despite a sore right wrist and a workload that is 17 games more than he had played in his whole career entering this season, Ben Bishop, who started his 62nd game Saturday, continues to get the call in net.

"He says he feels fresh and wants to play," Bowness said of Bishop, who has started 30 of Tampa Bay's past 32 games.

The team doesn't play again until Tuesday against the Maple Leafs. "It'll be nice to get a couple of days off and get some rest," Bishop said.

That said, he added, "I'm ready to go whenever."

ODDS AND ENDS: The loss was the Lightning's first in regulation to the Stars since December 2003 (5-1-2). … Forwards B.J. Crombeen, Cody Kunyk, Tom Pyatt and Richard Panik, and defensemen Mark Barberio and Mike Kostka (concussion) were scratched.

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