Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning's Marchessault remaining patient while sitting

TAMPA — RW Jonathan Marchessault understands he has to pay his dues in the NHL.

Marchessault knows the Lightning is a deep and healthy team, one that has won 11 of its past 15 games.

But that doesn't make it any easier for Marchessault to sit, and he was scratched Sunday for the 11th time in 15 games.

Marchessault had been a fixture in the lineup, playing enough games to where he's now waiver-eligible, which is why he can't be sent down to AHL Syracuse. He still has six goals in 27 games, more than RW Ryan Callahan (five in 54) and one fewer than C Valtteri Filppula (seven in 54).

While Marchessault and RW Erik Condra had been taking turns sitting out, Condra — with three goals in 38 games — has played in five of the past six.

What does Marchessault need to do to crack the lineup more?

"He's a power-play guy," associate coach Rick Bowness said. "So what does he have to do? That's a hard question to answer, because he's in that spot where he's the 12th, 13th guy, we have a couple guys in that role. Sometimes it's not what he needs to do other than making sure everyone stays in the lineup. Sometimes it's not always based on what he can and can't do. It's based on, 'Okay, let's make sure we have fresh legs out there as much as we can.' "

Vasy back: G Andrei Vasilevskiy was recalled Sunday after making one start Saturday with AHL Syracuse, where he stopped 26 of 27 shots in a 2-0 loss to Binghamton. G Kristers Gudlevskis was returned to the Crunch. Expect Vasilevskiy to get a couple of stints in the AHL to get more playing time. The Crunch plays Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Flu bug: C Vladislav Namestnikov played Sunday after sitting out Saturday's practice with the flu. And he looked good, too, taking down C Robby Fabbri in a first period fight.

But Namestnikov had a scary moment late in the second period, getting hit hard into the boards by D Joel Edmundson. Namestnikov was shaken up and left temporarily, but was back to start the third period.

Namestnikov is one of several players to get the flu bug, with Filppula and D Anton Stralman each dealing with it this past week. Fortunately for the Lightning, none of them missed a game.

"You want it out fast, so it's like the chicken and the egg, do you want everybody to get it at once or do you want it to be every day for two weeks?" coach Jon Cooper said. "But it's slowly crept in to our room."

Lining up: D Slater Koekkoek was scratched for the second straight game. There could be a good chance Koekkoek plays Tuesday.

Trade winds: The Blues and Lightning have been scouting each other often the past few months, and with St. Louis in town, it's worth wondering if Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman and his good friend, Blues GM Doug Armstrong, got to talk trades over the weekend. Stars scout Alex Lepore continues to attend Lightning games, with Ducks assistant GM Dave Baseggio and representatives from Calgary and Columbus listed too.

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