Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Injured Lightning players will get time to heal

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Lightning coach Jon Cooper was hoping LW Ondrej Palat (undisclosed injury) would return for Friday's game at Washington, but Palat missed his fifth consecutive game.

"Christmas did not come early for us," Cooper said before the 4-0 loss.

The four-day Christmas break that begins today should give some, if not all, the injured Lightning players listed as day to day a chance to heal and return to the lineup when the season resumes Wednesday against visiting Montreal.

The list includes RW Ryan Callahan (12 games missed/hip injury), RW Nikita Kucherov (six games/lower body), C Cedric Paquette (two games/lower body) and C Vladislav Namestnikov (two games/illness).

"Whether it's one player or five, I think eventually we'll get one of those forwards back," Cooper said. "It's too early now, especially with some of the injuries they have. If you rush them back it might hurt them down the road, so we got to wait."

KRISTERS DEBUTS: With Ben Bishop out, G Andrei Vasilevskiy started Friday at the Capitals, playing both ends of a back-to-back for the first time this season.

Cooper said G Kristers Gudlevskis, called up when Bishop was injured Tuesday, will get some starts. But with the Lightning off until Wednesday and with Vasilevskiy not overworked this season, Cooper felt Vasilevskiy (who played nearly 48 minutes Tuesday in place of Bishop) could handle playing twice in two nights.

"Bish is gone for a while, so we'll have to manage what's going to happen here," Cooper said. "You look at this as a back-to-back, but we get four days off, so there's breathing room here. Vasi has played this year, but it wasn't like he's been playing every single night, so it's not like he's tired. He's a young kid, he can handle it. He's probably been looking for this kind of opportunity."

Gudlevskis made his debut when he replaced Vasilevskiy in the third period after LF Marcus Johansson's goal made it 4-0 Caps.

HEAVY WORKLOAD: LW Michael Bournival played his third hockey game in three nights Friday and his sixth in eight days.

The increased workload was the result of his being called from AHL Syracuse after Wednesday's game.

"I think when you have a chance to be in the NHL, I think there's nothing that's going to stop you to bring energy," Bournival said after scoring a goal in Thursday's come-from-behind win against the Blues. "It's a great feeling to be back in this league."

That was Bournival's first NHL goal since February 2015, having dealt with concussion issues the past year-and-a-half while with Montreal. The Lightning signed him over the summer.

It was a big goal, tying the score at 2-2 in the Lightning's 5-2 win.

Bournival was part of an unlikely fourth line, teaming with J.T. Brown and defenseman Nikita Nesterov, who played forward for the first time in the NHL. The trio was key cogs in stopping the Blues' line with Vladimir Tarasenko, matching up with them with three minutes left and protecting a two-goal lead.

Times staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report.

Comments
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning shut out Blackhawks

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning shut out Blackhawks

CHICAGO — Turns out, Andrei Vasilevskiy is all right.And, believe it or not, so is the Lightning’s penalty kill, which was the unlikely hero in Monday’s streak-snapping 2-0 win over the Blackhawks at the United Center.Vasilevskiy, 23, played like the...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning angered by slash that has Ondrej Palat out 6-8 weeks

Lightning angered by slash that has Ondrej Palat out 6-8 weeks

CHICAGO — The Lightning got more bad news Monday with wing Ondrej Palat out 6-8 weeks with a lower-body injury. It’s a big blow to a struggling Tampa Bay team, which is now without its top defense­man (Victor Hedman) and now arguably its best defensi...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Lightning-Blackhawks

Matt Peca and Michael Bournival likely won’t be the last callups by the Lightning the next month or so. There are plenty of other deserving candidates at AHL Syracuse, with Adam Erne likely getting a shot had he not been injured. With Ondrej Palat ou...
Updated: 4 hours ago

NHL All-Star Game Skills Competition gets some changes

Skills Competition gets a new lookThe NHL switched up its format for Saturday’s All-Star Game Skills Competition (7 p.m, NBSCN). There will be six events, including the traditional hardest shot, accuracy shooting, plus a passing challenge, puck contr...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning’s Ondrej Palat to be out six to eight weeks

Lightning’s Ondrej Palat to be out six to eight weeks

The Lightning will be without Ondrej Palat six to eight weeks. And  Tampa Bay is still ticked by how Palat got hurt.The Wild's Jared Spurgeon slashed/speared the back of the Lightning wing's right ankle on a power play Saturday."It's a huge loss...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Matt Peca, Michael Bournival hope to spark Lightning

Matt Peca, Michael Bournival hope to spark Lightning

When Matt Peca had his best training camp with the Lightning back in September, coach Jon Cooper said he learned the 5-foot-9 forward was someone the Lightning would be able to count on at some point this season.Turns out, that time is now.Peca, 27, ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

CHICAGO — It didn’t take the sound of a door slamming in the visitor’s dressing room Saturday night to sense this Lightning team is frustrated.Tampa Bay believed it had worked hard against the Wild — at least, harder than it did in Thursday’s letharg...
Published: 01/21/18
Jones: Saluting CBS, honesty and goats (not to be confused with GOATS)

Jones: Saluting CBS, honesty and goats (not to be confused with GOATS)

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.Best coverageThe best football broadcast I’ve ever seen was Super Bowl XLIII. That was NBC’s coverage of the Steelers’ last-minute victory over th...
Published: 01/21/18
Expansion Golden Knights pass Lightning for top spot in NHL

Expansion Golden Knights pass Lightning for top spot in NHL

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Golden Knights are giving Vegas a great odds-beating story in their first year.The expansion team has the whole league playing catchup.James Neal and Jonathan Marchessault scored to help Vegas beat the Hurricanes 5-1 on Sunday and...
Published: 01/21/18
What’s gone wrong with Lightning?

What’s gone wrong with Lightning?

It didn't take the sound of a door slamming in the dressing room Saturday night to sense this Lightning team is frustrated.Tampa Bay felt like it worked hard – at least, harder than Thursday's listless loss to Vegas – yet dropped another ...
Published: 01/21/18