Saturday, July 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Five more join Lightning camp from World Cup

TAMPA — Five more players joined the Lightning on Wednesday after playing for their countries in the World Cup of Hockey: LW Jonathan Drouin (North America); D Andrej Sustr and LW Ondrej Palat (Czech Republic); C Valtteri Filppula (Finland) and D Nikita Nesterov (Russia).

Defensemen Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman (Sweden) have yet to report.

Also absent is RW Nikita Kucherov (Russia), an unsigned restricted free agent.

C Steven Stamkos (Canada) is the only Lightning player left in the World Cup. Canada can win the tournament with a victory in Thursday's Game 2 of the best-of-three final against Europe.

The five returnees plus F Mitchell Stevens, a 2015 second-round draft pick, and goalies Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy participated in an hour-long workout at Amalie Arena.

"It's nice, obviously," Sustr said. "Everybody's looking forward to being back here. Three weeks in a hotel room is not ideal."

The first practices of training camp were intense as the players not in the World Cup try to move their conditioning along to match that of their teammates who were.

"I think I'm in good shape," Palat said. "I've been skating every day."

Despite the earlier start to his season, Palat said he's not quite in midseason form, though the intensity of the Czech Republic's games against Canada and Russia in group play was as high as in any the Lightning will encounter during the regular season."

"Those were intense," Palat said. "It was good to play in them."

HE SHOOTS, HE SCORES: Sustr had one goal in the tournament, and it came in the Czech Republic's final game of group play against the United States. The goalie? Bishop.

"It was kind of lucky," Sustr said.

He beat his teammate with a shot from the corner that found a hole between Bishop and the post. It snapped a 2-2 second-period tie. Teammate Milan Michalek scored 39 seconds later for the winner in the Czech Republic's 4-3 victory. The Czechs didn't advance to the semifinals.

"It was nice to get a win in the last game of the tournament," Sustr said. "That was big for us."

WORLD CUP NOTES: Stamkos scored his first goal of the tournament Tuesday in Canada's 3-1 victory against Europe in the first game of the best-of-three final.

Game 3, if necessary, is Saturday.

Filppula scored Finland's lone goal in the tournament. It came at 15:33 of the third period against North America in Finland's final game of group play.

NUTS AND BOLTS: The Lightning cut 22 players Wednesday, trimming its camp roster to 53.

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