Sunday, December 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning's Tyler Johnson OK after taking puck to face in warmup

TAMPA — As if the Lightning didn't already have enough bad luck with injuries, it got another scare during warmups Friday.

C Tyler Johnson took a puck off the face, forcing him to head to the dressing room before Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final against the Penguins. A shot from a teammate deflected off the post and hit Johnson in the mouth.

"When somebody came in and told me what had happened, it was just almost one of those, you know, I should just expect this to happen," coach Jon Cooper quipped.

But Johnson played, alternating through several different protective masks before settling on a clear shield. And Johnson scored the eventual game-winner late in the second period.

Teammates had no doubts Johnson would play, Cooper joking that the center should take a puck off the face before Sunday's Game 5.

Said LW Ondrej Palat: "He's a warrior."

BISHOP CLOSER: G Ben Bishop continued to make progress in his recovery from a left leg injury, participating in his second straight team skate.

But Bishop didn't play in Game 4 and was noncommittal if he would be ready for Game 5. "We'll see," he said. "Take it day by day."

Bishop, who got hurt in Game 1, worked out on one half of the ice, trying different side-to-side and up-and-down movements. He also faced shots but didn't appear to be moving as quickly or forcefully.

"It's getting better," Bishop said of his range of motion. "(Friday) was better than (Thursday)."

Andrei Vasilevskiy made his third straight start in net, having stopped 82 of 89 shots in his previous two starts, both losses.

STAMKOS WATCH: C Steven Stamkos (blood clot) participated in the optional morning skate, still holding out hope he can return this postseason.

"As I said since Day 1, I wouldn't be working if I didn't think there was a chance," Stamkos said. "There's just also a chance (I) may not (return)."

Stamkos has received multiple medical opinions on whether he can — or should — come back, whether to return he would need to get off blood thinners or use a certain regimen.

Stamkos acknowledged the decision may eventually be up to him as he assesses the risk to his health. He was asked if it's hard not to follow a natural desire to play through it.

"It's a little different when it's pain you're playing through," he said. "I have no pain. It's more frustrating because it's just not safe. I think there's a big difference between playing through pain and playing with your life at risk. It's easier to comprehend with that one.

"I've played through a lot of pain. I don't feel any pain. That's the toughest part, physically feeling ready, just internally not being ready. I can't feel or see that."

ICE OUT: Due to ice issues at Amalie Arena, both teams could only use three-quarters of the ice for morning skates, a bumper divider put in place. The issues were fixed by early afternoon.

NUTS AND BOLTS: Andrej Sustr scored his first goal of the playoffs. … The Lightning went back to a lineup of 11 forwards and seven defensemen, with D Slater Koekkoek back in and RW Jonathan Marchessault out. … Cooper shuffled his lines to start the game, with C Vladislav Namestnikov centering LW Alex Killorn and RW Nikita Kucherov. RW Jonathan Drouin was with Johnson and LW Ondrej Palat.

Times correspondent Roger Mooney contributed to this report.

Comments

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Lightning-Avalanche

Could tell just how much Ryan Callahan meant in the Lightning dressing room by hearing teammates talk about his latest injury. Steven Stamkos said he was "sick to my stomach." Brayden Point called him a "heart and soul player." Teammates all saw how ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Lightning journal: No easy answers on replacing injured Ryan Callahan

Lightning journal: No easy answers on replacing injured Ryan Callahan

The good news for the Lightning is that GM Steve Yzerman is hopeful RW Ryan Callahan will be ready to go in 3-4 weeks when his upper body injury is re-evaluated. The hard part, however, is finding someone to replace the veteran wing. "I don’t know if...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Lightning trying to replace ‘heart and soul’ Ryan Callahan

Lightning trying to replace ‘heart and soul’ Ryan Callahan

With veteran wing Ryan Callahan out at least 3-4 weeks with an upper body injury, the natural question is who will fill his shoes?"I don't know if anyone can," coach Jon Cooper said.That's not to say the Lightning (26-6-2) can't win without Callahan....
Updated: 11 hours ago
Q&A with Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx about the Lightning’s next generation

Q&A with Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx about the Lightning’s next generation

DENVER — There might be one team in hockey hotter than the Lightning.It is Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, Syracuse.The Crunch has won 10 straight after Friday’s victory over Providence. Why is this important? While the AHL is a developmental league, the ...
Published: 12/16/17
Ryan Callahan out at least 3-4 weeks for Lightning

Ryan Callahan out at least 3-4 weeks for Lightning

When Lightning wing Ryan Callahan took a nasty spill into the boards Thursday night, it didn't look good.Turns out, it wasn't. Callahan will be sidelined indefinitely with an upper body injury, evaluated after three to four weeks, per GM Steve Yzerma...
Published: 12/15/17
When you think you’ve got Brayden Point figured out, a surprise awaits

When you think you’ve got Brayden Point figured out, a surprise awaits

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Center Brayden Point is the Lightning’s calmest player, both on the ice and off, according to Victor Hedman.Point’s soft-spoken nature belies his baby face and 5-foot-10 frame. "I’ve never seen him angry before," Hedman said.That ma...
Published: 12/15/17
Ryan Callahan injury makes Lightning win ‘bittersweet’

Ryan Callahan injury makes Lightning win ‘bittersweet’

The Lightning's 4-1 victory over the Coyotes Thursday night still featured the usual post-game music in the dressing room.But there was more of a somber tone with veteran right wing Ryan Callahan's right arm in a sling. Callahan, who got hurt on a na...
Published: 12/15/17
Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

GLENDALE, Ariz. — As much as the Lightning has been rolling, it remembered how it lost twice last season to the Coyotes.That included blowing a one-goal third-period lead at home down the stretch, with Tampa Bay missing the playoffs by a point."You l...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
Lightning’s Mikhail Sergachev earns more minutes, praise

Lightning’s Mikhail Sergachev earns more minutes, praise

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Coyotes center Clayton Keller is very familiar with fellow rookie Mikhail Sergachev, the dynamic Lightning defenseman. They both were top 10 picks in 2016, Keller at No. 7 and Sergachev No. 9 to Montreal. They faced each other in th...
Published: 12/14/17
Mikhail Sergachev earning trust – and more minutes with Lightning

Mikhail Sergachev earning trust – and more minutes with Lightning

Coyotes center Clayton Keller is very familiar with fellow rookie Mikhail Sergachev, the Lightning defenseman.They both were picked in the top-10 of the 2016 NHL Draft, Keller at No. 7 and Sergachev No. 9 to Montreal. They faced each other in three w...
Published: 12/14/17