Sunday, April 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Recoveries taking longer than expected for Johnson, Paquette

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Lightning had hoped C Tyler Johnson and C Cedric Paquette could return during the back-to-back games this weekend.

But with their recoveries from injuries taking longer than expected, both were scratched Saturday against the Sharks and were doubtful for tonight against the Kings.

"Disappointing," coach Jon Cooper said.

Johnson skated a couple of times last week as he recovers from an undisclosed injury suffered on the first shift of a Nov. 27 game against the Capitals. Paquette (upper body) hasn't played since Nov. 14 against the Panthers. Both are targeting a return Thursday against the Senators.

"When they come back, they're not coming back 75, 80 percent, they've got to come back 100 percent," Cooper said. "We can't have all these injuries recurring all the time. Can't have that. So we hope we get home and these guys take a few more strides forward."

LW Ondrej Palat (left ankle) continues to progress, having missed four weeks of his scheduled four- to five-week timetable. Cooper said Palat could return this week, "questionable" for Thursday.

MARCHING ON: C Jonathan Marchessault might have played his way onto the roster. He appeared in his 10th game Saturday, making him waiver-eligible, meaning he'll have to clear if the Lightning tries to send him back to AHL Syracuse.

Marchessault has been impressive in filling in while Paquette, Palat, Johnson and since-returned LW Jonathan Drouin have been hurt, with two goals entering Saturday (not including a shootout goal). Marchessault has also been on the power play. It'd be hard to envision Marchessault not getting picked up by another team if he is reassigned when Johnson, Palat and Paquette are back. So Marchessault is likely to stay, giving Tampa Bay 14 forwards when healthy, barring a trade.

"I just go with the flow, and it's going to be their decision at the end," Marchessault said. "We'll see what's going to happen. I'm just happy to be here. You try to come here and make them do a hard decision. Hopefully I can stay."

LEANING RIGHT: After spending most of this season at his natural center spot, Steven Stamkos has been playing right wing the past three games. As it was during last season's playoffs, Valtteri Filppula has centered Stamkos, with Alex Killorn on the left.

"We've got injuries. We're trying to make things happen," Cooper said. "All 'Stammer' wants to do is win. You talk to him about where he's playing, what is going to happen, he's like, 'Let's do it. Let's go get a win.' "

Stamkos said that though playing wing isn't new, it takes a few games to adjust. He had two assists and five shots Nov. 28 against the Islanders, just one shot Wednesday against the Ducks.

"You can put a spin on anything, 'try to free you up, get guys going,' " Stamkos said. "But whatever it is, things aren't going well if you have to switch things up."

LINING UP: G Ben Bishop started Saturday, with G Andrei Vasilevskiy likely playing tonight but not guaranteed.

Comments
Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

TAMPA — As usual, Andrei Vasilevskiy didn't speak in front of the cameras after the game. He has been like that since he hit the NHL. He still isn't comfortable with his English on TV.But Vasilevskiy spoke loudly and clearly in the first-round ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning has answer for Devils and David Puddy

Lightning has answer for Devils and David Puddy

You knew those who work the scoreboard for the Lightning games at Amalie Arena would have an answer Saturday during Game 5 to the Devils using David Puddy during Game 4 at the Prudential Center.Puddy meets Homer Simpson.Actually, Puddy met Terry the ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning-Devils: Grading Tampa Bay’s clinching 3-1 victory in Game 5

Lightning-Devils: Grading Tampa Bay’s clinching 3-1 victory in Game 5

TAMPA — Closers.That's what the Lightning looked like as it closed out the New Jersey Devils in five games with a 3-1 win Saturday.Nikita Kucherov's star power blazed again, the defense controlled the game and not even Jersey goaltend...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Maple Leafs force Game 6 with Bruins

Maple Leafs force Game 6 with Bruins

BOSTON — Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk scored 1:19 apart in the second period, and then the Maple Leafs killed off a 5-on-3 and three more power plays in a row to beat the Bruins 4-3 in Game 5 on Saturday night and avoid playoff eliminatio...
Published: 04/21/18
Lightning-Devils: How the NHL’s top offense went on the defensive

Lightning-Devils: How the NHL’s top offense went on the defensive

TAMPA — It was a couple of days after the Lightning beat the Bruins at home late in the regular season when associate coach Rick Bowness talked about how the defensive effort used in that shutout victory was the one the Lightning would need in ...
Published: 04/21/18
Rookie? Lightning D Mikhail Sergachev’s playing like a seasoned pro

Rookie? Lightning D Mikhail Sergachev’s playing like a seasoned pro

TAMPA — Pardon Mikhail Sergachev if he isn't so good at one of hockey's greatest traditions. After all, growing a Stanley Cup playoff beard isn't easy when you're still just a teenager.As he stood in the Lightning locker room Saturday evening w...
Published: 04/21/18
Roger Mooney’s takeaways from the Lightning’s first-round series

Roger Mooney’s takeaways from the Lightning’s first-round series

TAMPA — In the postseason, teams want to bank days off so they are as fresh as can be for the next round. That's why it was so important for the Lightning to close out Jersey in five. The fewer the games, the less wear and tear on the body, les...
Published: 04/21/18
Lightning stays patient, even through 0-for-5 power-play drought

Lightning stays patient, even through 0-for-5 power-play drought

TAMPA — The Lightning so dominated the second period Saturday that the Devils had more penalties (five) than shots on goal (four), and yet Tampa Bay was unable to build on a 1-0 lead as they sought to clinch the opening-round series.Nowhere was...
Published: 04/21/18
Nikita Kucherov’s goal sets Lightning playoff series scoring record

Nikita Kucherov’s goal sets Lightning playoff series scoring record

TAMPA — After clinging to a 1-0 lead for more than two periods Saturday, the Lightning got a long-awaited cushion — and ultimately the winning goal — when Nikita Kucherov scored with 7:33 left in the final period of a 3-1 victo...
Published: 04/21/18
Lightning wins 3-1, advances to the semifinals

Lightning wins 3-1, advances to the semifinals

TAMPA — The Lightning closed out its quarterfinal series against the Devils with a suffocating defensive effort.The Devils finally solved Andrei Vasilevskiy in the waning moments with goalie Cory Schneider on the bench and the Devils skati...
Published: 04/21/18