Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Banged-up Kucherov sits out Lightning regular-season finale

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) shoots and scores on a 5 on 3 power play for the first goal of the game against the Ottawa Senators during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday evening (12/10/15).


Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) shoots and scores on a 5 on 3 power play for the first goal of the game against the Ottawa Senators during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday evening (12/10/15).

MONTREAL — RW Nikita Kucherov was added to the list of the Lightning's walking wounded before Saturday's regular-season finale against the Canadiens.

Kucherov didn't play in the game for what the team dubbed "body maintenance," but he has been seen limping around and missed two games with a lower-body injury in late March after blocking a shot. Keep in mind that C Steven Stamkos missed a practice two weeks ago for what the team called "body maintenance" and a day later was declared out 1-3 months due to a blood clot.

Coach Jon Cooper said he wasn't concerned about Kucherov for Game 1 of the playoffs against the Red Wings, who Saturday clinched third place in the Atlantic Division, on Wednesday at Amalie Arena.

"There are guys that are banged up," Cooper said. "We don't play until Wednesday. … 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."

D Victor Hedman, who missed the previous two games with an upper-body injury, skated again and said he felt well enough to play. But he and the team decided he should sit to make sure he would be 100 percent for the playoffs. "You don't to risk too much before the playoffs start," Hedman said.

RW Ryan Callahan (lower body) missed his third straight game and wasn't part of the morning skate. Though former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk indicated on a WDAE-AM 620 on Friday that Callahan's condition may involve offseason surgery, Cooper said, "Whoever is talking hasn't talked to me."

Cooper reiterated the hope is for Callahan to be ready for Game 1. "I haven't been told otherwise," he said.

Playoff schedule: The full schedule for the series with Detroit will be released today.

DROUIN IT: RW Jonathan Drouin couldn't have drawn up his return to the Lightning any better. He scored the winning goal in his first game Thursday against the Devils, then came home to Montreal for Saturday's finale. "It was a nice scenario," he said. "It's definitely cool." After getting all the emotions — and hoopla — out of the way Thursday, Drouin felt more comfortable Saturday. Cooper sensed a more engaged, louder Drouin on the bench Thursday. "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."

LINING UP: With Kucherov out, the lines got shuffled, with RW Jonathan Marchessault returning to the lineup and taking Kucherov's spot with C Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat before Johnson left the game injured in the first period. Drouin started with LW Alex Killorn and RW Valtteri Filppula. C Vladislav Namestnikov was moved down to the third line with Cedric Paquette and J.T. Brown. … G Andrei Vasilevskiy started. … G Ben Bishop (@benbishop30) is hosting a Twitter Q&A at 2 p.m. today. Use #AskBish.

Banged-up Kucherov sits out Lightning regular-season finale 04/09/16 [Last modified: Sunday, April 10, 2016 1:00am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. NFL Week 3: What we learned


    Take the knee … well, not NOW

     1. Photo of Roger Mooney for Times Sports.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Chris Archer's primary problem Sunday, as in much of September, was a lack of slider command. When he can't throw it where he wants, and doesn't have the confidence in the changeup to throw it often, he can't win with just his fastball.

  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. Bradenton high school senior Chasten Whitfield inspires young anglers


    MADEIRA BEACH — The kids lined up single file, snow cones in hand, a procession of sweaty, excited grade schoolers watching Chasten Whitfield throw a cast net.

    Whitfield, a senior at Bradenton Manatee, demonstrates how to throw a cast net at the FishKids tournament in Madeira Beach. She also taught knot tying.
  5. Wreck helps Kyle Busch take control of Monster Cup's ISM 300

    Auto racing

    LOUDON, N.H. — Kyle Busch saw little but billowing white smoke that engulfed the track and blinded enough drivers that it caused a tremendous wreck that notably altered the race running order.

    Kyle Busch celebrates with a burnout after his third victory of the season that earns a berth in the second round of NASCAR’s playoffs. He also has some fun with Loudon the Lobster.