Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Kucherov day to day after blocking shot

Right wing Nikita Kucherov, second on the Lightning with 29 goals, hobbles to the bench after getting hurt blocking a shot in the third period against the Islanders on Friday. He is day to day.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Right wing Nikita Kucherov, second on the Lightning with 29 goals, hobbles to the bench after getting hurt blocking a shot in the third period against the Islanders on Friday. He is day to day.

TAMPA — It's bad enough for the Lightning that top-pairing D Anton Stralman is out indefinitely after fracturing his left leg Friday night.

But Tampa Bay also had to enter Saturday's first-place showdown with the Panthers without one of its top scorers, RW Nikita Kucherov. Kucherov, second on the team with 29 goals, suffered an apparent left foot injury blocking a shot in Friday's third period against the Islanders. He skated gingerly in warmups Saturday but did not play. The Lightning said Kucherov was day to day with a lower-body injury.

"We'll have to see on this one," coach Jon Cooper said. "It was tough he wasn't able to go. Now we've got to wait this one out."

LW Joel Vermin was brought up from AHL Syracuse on an emergency recall (over RW Jonathan Drouin, who has seven goals in eight games with the Crunch since returning from his suspension, including one in a 3-1 win over Rochester on Saturday). Vermin was a healthy scratch. The rookie played in six games with the Lightning this season before fracturing a hand in December. He returned to Syracuse in late February.

The Lightning was already without veteran C Valtteri Filppula (upper body), who missed his sixth game, and RW Ryan Callahan (lower body), who was out for a fourth straight game. Both took part in the morning skate. There is no guarantee they'll be ready by Monday to face the Maple Leafs. "I was hoping they could play before this," Cooper said. "Unfortunately, the longer this goes on, the tougher it gets."

STEPPING UP: With Stralman out for the rest of the regular season and likely at least the first round of the playoffs, D Slater Koekkoek was recalled from Syracuse. Koekkoek, 22, a 2012 first-round draft pick, has impressed in previous callups, including six games this season. Koekkoek was chosen over the likes of Luke Witkowski, a right-handed shot. Koekkoek played just 5:57 in Saturday's 5-2 loss and was minus-1.

The Lightning went with seven defensemen and 11 forwards Saturday, which made sense considering it was playing the second of back-to-back games and defensemen had to carry a heavy load Friday after Stralman got hurt in the first period.

Managing minutes is key in handling the absence of Stralman, who averaged 22:50. "There's a couple theories," Cooper said. "There's a theory of, 'The more you play, the better you are.' Then there's the theory of, 'Time has proven this is a good amount of minutes for this type of player.' "

D Victor Hedman took Stralman's spot on the first power-play unit and played 22:13.

STRALMAN SPIRITS: Stralman hadn't been available to the media since Friday's injury, but teammates said he was in good spirits. "He's a calm Swedish guy," said Hedman, Stralman's partner. "He's a very positive guy, and I think that's going to help him."

NUTS AND BOLTS: G Ben Bishop gave up four goals Friday for the ninth time this season, but it was the first time he won, 7-4 (1-6-2). … C Tyler Johnson scored and has goals in back-to-back games for just the second time this season (Feb. 3-5). He had seven shots. … C Steven Stamkos played 23:13 and had a game-high eight shots.

Kucherov day to day after blocking shot 03/26/16 [Last modified: Sunday, March 27, 2016 12:29am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    Rookie RHP Jake Faria had his lucky rubber duck — OG, the original one he has had since high school — with him, and the Rays had nothing to worry about as he put his rocky Wednesday outing well behind him, working into the eighth while scattering seven hits.

  3. Rays journal: Rookie Jacob Faria continues to show veteran poise

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Orioles threatened in the first inning and the second. They loaded the bases with one out in the fifth inning with the top of the order up and seemed poised for a big inning. But those opportunities produced only one run because Rays rookie RHP Jacob Faria kept his composure and got the …

    Jacob Faria goes a career-high 71/3 innings, staying composed when the Orioles threaten.
  4. Rays vs. Orioles, 12:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    Sports

    Today: vs. Orioles

    12:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM

    Tickets: $15-$275; available at Tropicana Field box office, raysbaseball.com, surcharge of up to $5 within 5 hours of game time.

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Bruce Arena blends intense demands with humor to lead U.S. soccer

    Soccer

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Bruce Arena bites his fingernails religiously, a habit he has had since age 10.

    Among some other unmentionables.

    Bruce Arena