NASHVILLE — Erik Condra's Saturday night was already pretty great, having scored the winner with 1.9 second left to lift AHL Syracuse into first place.
But it got even better postgame, when Lightning assistant general manager Julien BriseBois told the 30-year-old he'd be heading back to the NHL. Condra was called up Monday as a few Tampa Bay forwards were banged up and considered game-time decisions against the Predators. But Condra didn't play.
"It's good to see everybody," Condra said.
Condra admits he was stunned to be one of the last cuts in training camp, having to clear waivers before getting sent to the AHL for the first time since 2010-11. GM Steve Yzerman said it was partly a salary-cap related move, allowing the team to bury $950,00 of Condra's salary in Syracuse. Condra is in the second season of a three-year, $3.75 million deal.
"I didn't know it was going to happen," Condra said. "But with the cap league and a cap sport, sometimes things like that happen. You can't go with your head down, you go down there and improve your game, knowing that things will work itself out."
Condra played well in Syracuse, with three goals and six assists in 13 games.
"When you play more, play 20 minutes, you get into a groove," Condra said. "You feel confident. The more you play, the easier the game seems to be."
Condra doesn't know how long his callup will last But coach Jon Cooper said Condra "earned his way back."
"He's the consummate pro," Cooper said. "We're glad to have him back."
MEDICAL MATTERS: C Brian Boyle, who missed Saturday's game with an upper body injury and didn't practice Sunday, participated in the morning skate and could play tonight. C Brayden Point sported a full cage mask a couple days after having to get 30 stitches above his lip during Saturday's game, when his visor cut him.
"That's the unwritten rule in hockey, you wouldn't sit out for a cut lip," Point said.
STRALMAN UPDATE: D Anton Stralman (upper body) skated with the team for the second straight day, still in a red non contact jersey. Stralman has missed the last four games after tearing a muscle taking a shot late in Nov. 12 game against San Jose. "It's still not there obviously," Stralman said. "But it's getting better."
BUDDY BOUT: RW J.T. Brown said he and former Lightning teammate Radko Gudas shared a good laugh about their fight in Saturday's game.
"It's always a weird situation," Brown said. "That's why hockey is a different sport than anything else. You punch your friend and right after you're in the box laughing about it. I told him it's been a long way since he was protecting me back when we were playing.
NUTS AND BOLTS: Birthday boy Bishop, who turned 30 Monday, started. D Luke Witkowski was a healthy scratch. For the first time in five games, the Lightning allowed the first goal.
Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected] Follow @TBTImes_JSmith.