Saturday, January 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Jake Dotchin called up as Victor Hedman remains out for Lightning

ANAHEIM, Calif — The shuttle from AHL Syracuse continues for the Lightning.

With D Victor Hedman (illness) missing his second straight game Tuesday against the Ducks, Tampa Bay recalled D Jake Dotchin to provide depth.

Coach Jon Cooper said the Lightning hoped Hedman could return by Thursday's game in San Jose.

Dotchin, 22, got the call around 5 p.m. Monday after a matinee game with the Crunch. After a whirlwind of phone calls to his parents, Dotchin boarded a flight and arrived in Anaheim around 3 a.m.

"It's pretty exciting," Dotchin said.

Dotchin didn't make his NHL debut Tuesday, but Cooper said the coaches were comfortable playing him if need be. Dotchin, a sixth-round draft pick in 2012, led Crunch defensemen with a plus-10 rating, with three goals and 12 points in 33 games.

The Lightning could have chosen the more experienced, left-shot puck-mover Slater Koekkoek, who has played 29 games with Tampa Bay this season, or Crunch All-Star Matt Taormina, but Cooper said Dotchin earned the callup.

"He's done everything down there the coaches have asked of him," Cooper said. "He's gotten better as a player. His game has really matured."

That Dotchin, at 6 feet 3 and 210 pounds, has size and grit, which helps against some heavy Western Conference teams, Cooper said.

"I've just got to go out there and (do) what got me here," Dotchin said. "Play simple hockey, put the puck in the forwards' hands and play physical and do what I can do."

BISH again: G Ben Bishop started for the second straight game. He had been sharp in his first two games since returning from a lower-body injury, including a 31-save effort in Monday's win against the Kings.

'D' FIRST: The Lightning has seen great progress in its defending the past three games, allowing six combined goals (one an empty-netter) after giving up 22 in its four-game losing streak. "It's all about our net now," Cooper said.

HIT SHOW: Cooper said that the Lightning's season-high 41 hits Monday were a big reason why it won. "Our players were physically engaged," he said. "When you are like that, your team is engaged. It wasn't just one person who was doing it, everybody was doing it."

NUTS AND BOLTS: Blues GM Doug Armstrong was at his second straight Lightning game. … There was a lot of praise for how the fourth line, the "French Connection," played Monday, with C Cedric Paquette, Michael Bournival and Gabriel Dumont combining for eight hits and five shots on goal. … RW J.T. Brown (upper body) and Joel Vermin (healthy) were scratched.

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