ST. LOUIS — Lightning C Brian Boyle hardly ever misses games. So when he does, it's telling, as well as frustrating for the veteran.
Boyle snapped a streak of 263 consecutive games played in Game 1 of last season's Eastern Conference final against the Rangers. Now Boyle has been scratched three consecutive games, including Tuesday's against the Blues, with an undisclosed injury he said is very much related to that one from the playoffs.
"It just flared up again," Boyle said. "I thought it was under control. That's why it's pretty disappointing. Really disappointing. But these things happen."
Boyle was encouraged he was able to practice Monday, and he participated in Tuesday's morning skate, saying he was feeling better. Boyle said the Lightning has tried multiple treatments and could get the issues examined further when it returns home today. "It's really frustrating," Boyle said.
C Cedric Paquette, who didn't skate Monday or Tuesday, was also scratched due to an issue coach Jon Cooper said is related to the left foot/ankle injury he suffered blocking a shot during the preseason against Dallas. With both out, the Lightning went with 11 forwards and seven defensemen for the second consecutive game.
Vasy update: G Andrei Vasilevskiy did an on-ice workout after the morning skate and appeared close to beginning a short conditioning assignment with AHL Syracuse, which plays tonight in Toronto and Friday at home. "He's a monster, that kid," Cooper said. "It looks like he hasn't missed a beat."
G Kevin Poulin, who cleared waivers Sunday, reported to Crunch practice Tuesday. G Allen York was reassigned to ECHL Greenville.
Homecoming: G Ben Bishop, who grew up outside St. Louis, noted that Tuesday's start was "little bit bigger than most games." But Bishop — who was drafted by the Blues in 2005 and made his debut with St. Louis before getting traded to Ottawa (in 2012) and Tampa Bay (in 2013) — said he holds "no grudges" that he wasn't able to stay in his hometown.
"It could have been a blessing in disguise to get out of there and not have the pressure to make it in front of family and friends," Bishop said. "It's kind of nice to get away and not have that pressure. I'm in a great spot now. They've had successful seasons, and I've personally had successful seasons. I think both teams were winners."
High praise: Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said he always has been a big fan of Lightning D Anton Stralman, whom he coached in Columbus 2009-10. "I knew there was something special there," Hitchcock said. "He came in with this reputation as a defending defenseman, and when we'd do stuff after practice, I saw a skill set and ability to read. I kept telling people, 'There's something here offensively that's not being tapped into.' Stralman noted that 2009-10 was his best statistical season (six goals, 28 assists) until last season with Tampa Bay (nine, 30). "(Hitchcock) was a reason why," Stralman said.
Nuts and bolts: LW Alex Killorn played his 200th game.
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