MONTREAL — D Jason Garrison missed Tuesday's game and could be sidelined through the weekend due to a lower-body injury suffered in Monday's 5-1 loss to Ottawa.
Garrison, who didn't play in the final two periods Monday, will be re-evaluated when the team is back in Tampa today.
The Lightning hosts Nashville on Friday and St. Louis on Sunday.
"I don't know how long it's going to be," coach Jon Cooper said. "But I would not expect him back for the next couple games."
Tampa Bay will miss one of its top four defensemen and a key penalty killer. Garrison, who has four goals and three assists, entered Tuesday ranking second on the team in blocked shots (76) and fourth in hits (68) and his 16:18 average even strength ice time was third on the team.
Tuesday was the first game Garrison missed this season.
"That's a tough one too, because he's a big minute-munching defenseman for us," Cooper said. "A big body and size."
D Matt Carle returned to the lineup. Carle, the team's highest paid defenseman ($5.5 million), had been a healthy scratch in 10 of the previous 13 games. Cooper said they were not concerned with recalling a defenseman from AHL Syracuse with Carle available. Plus snowstorms in St. John's, where Syracuse was playing, grounded flights. But there could be a callup by Friday's game.
STAMKOS STALKER?: Captain Steven Stamkos took to Twitter to reveal he had an apparent stalker following him in Montreal, displaying a photo of the unknown person wearing black and holding a camera. "Little creepy when a guy dressed in all black follows you around the street snapping pictures. #smile #Montreal," Stamkos tweeted.
The responsible party was revealed later in the afternoon, with the French-language hockey gossip blog 25Stanley.com tweeting "here's our point of view," a photo of Stamkos staring through a window.
A FEEL THING: As usual, the Lightning split up starts by goaltenders for the back-to-back games, with Andrei Vasilevskiy playing Monday and Ben Bishop Tuesday.
Cooper said the decisions are "not a perfect science," but involve several factors. A goalie's career success against opponents is one of them, though Cooper said it's difficult with Vasilevskiy not having played against every team.
Cooper said the Lightning also looks into analytics on where opponents typically shoot from, and how goalies match up. Rest plays a role, but where the opponent sits in the standings does not, Cooper said. But Cooper said a lot depends on his feel, his gut.
NUTS AND BOLTS: RW Jonathan Marchessault, a healthy scratch in nine of the previous 12 games, returned, replacing RW Erik Condra. … Blues director of player personnel Rob DiMaio was at his second consecutive Tampa Bay game… Lightning founder Phil Esposito will be one of seven players from Canada's 1972 Summit Series team that beat Russia to take part in a four-city tour Sept. 2-10 to "relive their memories."