Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning's injury list keeps growing

TAMPA — The list of banged-up Lightning players continues to grow.

"It's getting ridiculous," LW Alex Killorn said.

One day after news that G Ben Bishop is expected to miss three to four weeks with a lower-body injury, forwards Vladislav Namestnikov (illness) and Cedric Paquette (lower-body injury) were scratched Thursday for the 5-2 win against the Blues.

That meant that six of the team's 12 regular forwards were out (the others were Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat and Ryan Callahan). Even with forward Michael Bournival called up from AHL Syracuse, Tampa Bay had just 11 healthy forwards to fill out a lineup. Coach Jon Cooper had no choice but to play seven defensemen.

RELATED: Lightning comes back to top Blues.

"We're losing more players than we're adding," Cooper said.

Palat (undisclosed) and Kucherov (lower body) were on the ice for the morning skate. It was Kucherov's first team skate since Dec. 14, and he looked much better. Callahan (lower body) missed his 11th straight game. With just a game tonight in Washington before a four-day Christmas break, it looked like Kucherov, Palat and Callahan might be rested. Tampa Bay's next game after the break is Dec. 29.

HIS TURN: G Andrei Vasilevskiy got the start against the Blues, beginning what will be his first extended run as a No. 1 goalie.

"It's a good opportunity for me to play more games," Vasilevskiy said.

Vasilevskiy, 22, will shoulder a heavy load until Bishop returns. Kristers Gudlevskis, called up Wednesday from AHL Syracuse, is the backup.

It's new territory for Vasilev­skiy. But the Lightning has confidence in him, having seen what he has done in the playoffs the past two seasons substituting for Bishop when he was hurt, as well as how he has handled an increased workload this year.

"He's a National Hockey League goaltender and a really good one," coach Jon Cooper said. "The future's bright for him, but … the future is now for him, and we're going to need him to be big while 'Bish' is out."

PK POWER: The Lightning believed Tuesday's 5-for-5 performance on the penalty kill against the Red Wings was an encouraging step for the struggling unit, which entered Thursday 23rd in the league at 79 percent.

Though Cooper said one issue with the penalty kill had been inconsistent structure, a lot of improvement will come as soon as players take pride in it.

"Once you get over that hurdle, everything else comes a little bit easier," Cooper said. "Every time we took a penalty (against Detroit), you could just hear them on the bench like, 'We're killing this off.' So when you start with that attitude, it can help."

ON POINT: Rookie C Brayden Point snapped a 14-game goal drought with his power-play goal in Tuesday's 4-1 win over Detroit. It was just the third goal of the season for Point, but he could have about 10 more with all the chances he has created.

"It's hard to say he hasn't been our best player the last few games," Cooper said. "He's been outstanding at all ends of the ice. He's gotten the feel for the league a little bit now. Got him at center, and it's really opened up his game. His speed and tenacity are exceptional. With the hockey sense, it's the total package. It's really nice to see."

Comments
Lightning journal: Vinik pushing for outdoor game

Lightning journal: Vinik pushing for outdoor game

As he sat back in his chair facing the stands in the middle of the two benches, Lightning owner Jeff Vinik could not help but remember the first time he sat there.A young Steven Stamkos sat next to him as he spoke in front of a crowd of about 30 peop...
Published: 09/24/18
Lightning journal: Roster trimmed to 28

Lightning journal: Roster trimmed to 28

TAMPA – After Sunday morning, the Lightning sat five cuts away from having a 23-man roster to start the regular season.It cut its training camp roster by 27, leaving 28 players on the roster with the start of the regular season less than two we...
Published: 09/23/18
Lightning forward prospect Boris Katchouk putting together strong preseason

Lightning forward prospect Boris Katchouk putting together strong preseason

TAMPA — As the end of training camp looms, there's no clear-cut answer as to how the Lightning will fill the one, maybe two open forward spots in its lineup.It could go with Adam Erne. Spending much of his time in AHL Syracuse the past three se...
Published: 09/22/18
Lightning journal: ‘No-risk’ forward pickup; another preseason win; Fan Fest on Sunday

Lightning journal: ‘No-risk’ forward pickup; another preseason win; Fan Fest on Sunday

TAMPA — It didn't take long for Lightning GM Julien BriseBois to decide he wanted to put a waiver claim in Friday.Not when he saw that F Danick Martel was available."He's a player we have had on our radar for a while, going back to actually his...
Published: 09/22/18
Lightning journal: Adam Erne looks to stick in Tampa

Lightning journal: Adam Erne looks to stick in Tampa

Forward Adam Erne flicks the puck into the net, but he has no time to celebrate.He flips around. Crunch, crunch, crunch. Snow flies off his skates. Erne then squares his body as he arrives in the defensive zone, steps away from the net.Within a secon...
Published: 09/21/18
Lightning falls to Hurricanes again in preseason

Lightning falls to Hurricanes again in preseason

The Lightning did not fare much better in its second preseason crack at the Hurricanes.In fact, it did worse.It lost 6-1 Wednesday in Raleigh, N.C.Carolina put a much more veteran team on the ice than it did Tuesday in winning Tampa Bay's preseason o...
Published: 09/19/18
Second-round pick Gabriel Fortier among Lightning’s early cuts

Second-round pick Gabriel Fortier among Lightning’s early cuts

One round of cuts down, several more to go.The Lightning cut seven players on Wednesday, five of whom were training camp invitees, the team announced. All seven players were assigned to juniors.Gabriel Fortier was the most notable cut. The Lightning'...
Published: 09/19/18
Lightning journal: Can Mathieu Joseph sneak his way onto the opening-day roster?

Lightning journal: Can Mathieu Joseph sneak his way onto the opening-day roster?

It remains to be seen if F Mathieu Joseph will make the Lightning's roster. If he doesn't, it certainly won't be because of a lack of opportunities.Joseph saw time on the Lightning power play and penalty kill on Tuesday at Amalie Arena when Tampa Bay...
Published: 09/19/18
Hockey News poll: Lightning favored to win Stanley Cup, other awards

Hockey News poll: Lightning favored to win Stanley Cup, other awards

Falling just short of winning a championship the past few seasons has done nothing to erode fans' confidence in the Lightning.Not just locally, but also nationally and across Canada.The Lightning is the runaway favorite to win the Stanley C...
Published: 09/19/18
Lightning journal: Alex Killorn’s just puttin’ on the Fitz

Lightning journal: Alex Killorn’s just puttin’ on the Fitz

TAMPA — How big is FitzMagic? It has hit the Lightning, too.Proving that Harvard guys stick together, Lightning forward Alex Killorn showed support for fellow Harvard grad Ryan Fitzpatrick by, sort of, dressing up the way Fitzpatrick did after ...
Published: 09/19/18