QUEBEC CITY — The injury to D Mattias Ohlund's right knee became more of a concern Saturday, when he was scratched from the Lightning's preseason finale, a 5-1 loss to the Canadiens.
The knee is irritated and swollen, GM Steve Yzerman said. The same symptoms forced Ohlund out of last season's first eight regular-season games.
Ohlund will meet today in Tampa with team medical director Ira Guttentag, and Yzerman did not rule out putting Ohlund on injured reserve.
"We want to get that under control," Yzerman said of the knee that forced Ohlund out of a second straight game.
Troublesome as it might be, the injury offers potential for at least a short-term cure for the Lightning's roster problems.
Ohlund on IR would free a roster spot, perhaps providing the leeway to keep surprising prospect Brett Connolly, at least through his first nine games. If he is not sent back to juniors after that, the clock starts on his three-year, $2.7 million contract.
The Lightning has 25 on its roster, not counting minor-league D Scott Jackson (knee). The roster must be at the maximum 23 by 3 p.m. Wednesday.
With the team expected to keep eight defensemen, cuts will come from the 15 remaining forwards. Ohlund on IR means Tampa Bay would have seven defensemen and could keep 14 forwards instead of 13, with two goaltenders.
That would be good news for Dana Tyrell and Blair Jones, both on the bubble, and perhaps even Tom Pyatt. And Yzerman would have one less move to keep Connolly. That seems to be what he wants after the 19-year-old wing had a team-best three goals in the preseason and tied for the lead with five points.
SUSPENSION COMING?: Another roster spot could be available if W Ryan Malone is suspended for his third-period head shot on Chris Campoli.
Malone, who said he expects to hear from league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, received a major penalty and game misconduct after he flattened Campoli with his shoulder.
Malone, who then fought Josh Gorges, stressed that a head shot was not his intention.
"It's not what I wanted to happen," he said. "I'm coming in to finish my check, and he's leaning forward a little bit there, and my elbow is by my hip. Obviously, I didn't have the intention of hurting him."
Campoli, who was helped off the ice by a trainer, did not talk to reporters.
"Hopefully he's all right," Malone said.
GAME DETAILS: Tampa Bay's loss ended its three-game winning streak.
"Disappointed but not surprised," coach Guy Boucher said. "The idea of this training camp was to push them hard, further than their limit. They gave us their limit.
"We had no legs. … It was very clear it was because of the load. That's okay. That's what we wanted."
Vinny Lecavalier scored off a perfect pass from Teddy Purcell. Montreal got goals by Brian Gionta (shorthanded) and Erik Cole on giveaways by Steven Stamkos and Brett Clark, respectively.
G Mathieu Garon made 27 saves as the Lightning was outshot 32-19 (10-4 in the third period) and ended the preseason 3-3-0.