Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Stralman's playing time being monitored

TAMPA — D Anton Stralman insists he's not tired.

You can't blame him if he is.

Stralman, 29, entered Thursday's game against the Rangers leading the NHL in most games played since the start of the 2013-14 season, 234. That's largely a by-product of appearing in back-to-back Stanley Cup finals, in 2014 with the Rangers and 2015 with Tampa Bay.

With that workload, associate coach Rick Bowness said, it's important to manage the veteran's minutes. Stralman was averaging 21:36, second on the team to D Victor Hedman (21:42). He played 22:53 Thursday.

"I'd like to keep him around 20 minutes," Bowness said. "But if I need him to play 24, I need him to play 24. We watch his minutes very closely."

With the Lightning needing its 2-1 win Thursday, Stralman was extended a minute over his average. But in Monday's 1-0 loss to the Panthers, he was at 19:24, just his fourth game under 20 minutes this season.

Having a third right-shot defenseman in Luke Witkowski, called up Thursday, should help when Tampa Bay goes with seven defensemen. Coach Jon Cooper said they give Stralman a morning skate or practice off if he needs.

"I don't look at it as being a burden in any way," Stralman said. "I'm a hockey player. I love what I do. When you do it that much, it's a good thing. I'm sure if I felt that I wasn't playing well enough or for whatever reason not feeling good enough about me and my game or fatigue … but I don't feel that way."

NBCSN analyst Keith Jones suggested on a recent broadcast Hedman should play more. Hedman has logged 23 or more minutes six times. His high is 24:18.

"He can probably handle 28 minutes if I asked him," Bowness said. "That's not ideal for a big man like that. He … does a lot of skating in a shift. You can't do that for 24, 26 minutes. But if a game is under control and it's a three-quarter game for him, he can handle more."

TAMPACUSE: The Lightning's shuttle from AHL Syracuse continued Thursday, with Witkowski and C Mike Angelidis called up from the Crunch. D Matt Taormina was sent back.

The moves were necessitated by Tampa Bay's injuries, with forwards Jonathan Drouin (undisclosed), Tyler Johnson (upper body), Cedric Paquette (upper body) and Ryan Callahan (lower body) missing Thursday's game. LW Joel Vermin, called up Wednesday, made his NHL debut, looking poised in an impressive all-around performance. "A dream come true," he said.

Callahan, who participated in Thursday's skate, was a game-time decision and could return Saturday against the Ducks. Johnson skated in a red no-contact) jersey before practice and is considered day to day, like Drouin. Paquette is on injured reserve, so he can't come back until after Saturday's game.

GM Steve Yzerman said Witkowski was called up because the Lightning wanted another right-shot defenseman. Plus, Yzerman said, it wanted D Nikita Nesterov to play more regularly and get in a "groove."

NUTS AND BOLTS: Former Lightning assistant Adam Oates, now an independent consultant, visited the team.

Comments
Lightning opens second round Saturday; time depends on opponent

Lightning opens second round Saturday; time depends on opponent

Game 1 of the Lightning's Eastern Conference semifinals begins Saturday at Amalie Arena regardless of whether the Maple Leafs or Bruins win Wednesday's first-round series Game 7 to advance.Still in question is the start time.If the Bruins advanc...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Lightning plays the waiting game

Lightning plays the waiting game

TAMPA — Had Boston closed out Toronto on Monday, Game 1 of the Lightning-Bruins series would have been Wednesday. Instead, the Lightning returned to the ice Tuesday still awaiting its opponent for the conference semifinals that begin later this...
Published: 04/24/18
How the Lightning did its best work on the Devils shorthanded

How the Lightning did its best work on the Devils shorthanded

TAMPA — The Lightning rolled past the Devils in five games of the Stanley Cup playoffs quarterfinal series largely because the penalty kill became a beast, killing off 16 of 19, including the final 15 when down a man.Two of those three goals al...
Published: 04/24/18
Bruins … Leafs … doesn’t matter. Lightning’s got this

Bruins … Leafs … doesn’t matter. Lightning’s got this

TAMPA — The Bruins and Maple Leafs play Game 7 Wednesday night in Boston.Let them.Let them beat each other's brains in for all the Lightning care. Let it go to overtime. Let it go to six overtimes. Lightning players and coaches will be watching...
Published: 04/24/18
Bruins’ Brad Marchand: ‘You have to be willing to do anything … in order to win’

Bruins’ Brad Marchand: ‘You have to be willing to do anything … in order to win’

Brad Marchand might be the ultimate pest, but he's not the original.Not even in his own family.The Boston Bruins left wing writes in a first-person story published last week in The Players' Tribune that he got his inspiration from his younger br...
Published: 04/24/18
Lightning wait goes on: Leafs top Bruins to force Game 7

Lightning wait goes on: Leafs top Bruins to force Game 7

TORONTO — Frederik Andersen made 32 saves as the Maple Leafs defeated the Bruins 3-1 to force a Game 7 in their first-round playoff series Monday night.William Nylander, Mitch Marner and Tomas Plekanec, into an empty net, scored for the Leafs, who tr...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/24/18
The key to the Lightning’s success

The key to the Lightning’s success

This is quite the run the Lightning is on over the past five years.A playoff appearance in 2014. A trip to the Stanley Cup final in 2015. A return to the Eastern Conference final in 2016. A near-miss of the postseason last season. And now back in the...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/24/18
Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Single-game tickets for the Lightning's Eastern Conference semifinal series go on sale to the general public at 1 p.m. Monday at nhl.com/lightning/tickets. The Lightning plays the winner of the Bruins-Maple Leafs series. Game 6 of that series is Mon...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18
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 ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18
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 ...
Published: 04/22/18