Sunday, December 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning's B.J. Crombeen to return

BOSTON — Lightning RW B.J. Crombeen will be back in the lineup tonight against the Rangers, five days after he was convinced he was ready to play.

Crombeen was held out of Thursday's game with the Devils as a precaution after taking some heavy punches to the head during Tuesday's first-period fight with the Flyers' Zac Rinaldo.

He said he began lobbying to get back on the ice in the second period after the league-mandated concussion testing protocol determined he did not have symptoms.

"I've gotten hit pretty good in a fight before and come back," Crombeen said after Saturday's skate at TD Garden. "You try to plead your case. You say you feel fine. You passed the tests. Obviously, they had the final call."

Tampa Bay missed Crombeen's size against the Devils, especially after starting Dana Tyrell instead of 6-foot-4, 220-pound RW Pierre-Cedric Labrie.

But coach Guy Boucher said sitting Crombeen, 6-2, 209, was the right choice, especially with the heightened concerns about head trauma.

"There's a person behind the player," Boucher said. "I always try to make my decisions as if the player were my son, what I would want for him. So we made the same type of decision with B.J."

"I obviously understood but not happily agreed," Crombeen said. "You want to be in there and be part of it."

LINE DANCING: It sounded as if Boucher would stick with a line he used a bit Thursday with grinder Nate Thompson on the wing with C Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis.

"It gives us some drive, some quick retrievals, some reliability defensively and some grit to match whoever they're going to put against Stamkos and St. Louis," Boucher said. "That's how you win on the road: a little less fancy plays, less east-west plays."

Thompson has played this season mostly with Crombeen and Adam Hall. He has two goals and is plus-2 while averaging 13:58 of ice time and winning 55 percent of faceoffs.

"I can't change my game too much," Thompson said. "I can't go out there and dangle and toe drag like those guys can. I just have to play my game and create space for them and, hopefully, complement that line."

ROSTER MOVES: Tyrell is on 24-hour waivers with the intention of sending him to AHL Syracuse. Alex Killorn will be promoted for tonight's game.

GM Steve Yzerman said the move does not reflect on Tyrell, who is 5-11, 192, and had a goal and two points in six games. But the team needs size. Killorn, with 16 goals and 38 points in 41 games with Syracuse, is 6-1, 202.

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