Thursday, May 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning loses Adam Hall, J.T. Wyman to injuries against Ottawa Senators

OTTAWA — Rookie wing Brett Connolly's return from the world junior championship can't come soon enough for the Lightning.

Already without one of its top forwards, RW Ryan Malone (lower body), the past two games, Tampa Bay lost two more wings Thursday against the Senators. Adam Hall and J.T. Wyman sustained upper-body injuries and didn't return.

Hall, one of the team's chief penalty killers, played 1:38, getting in a first-period fight with D Matt Carkner. Wyman, a rookie who has made a sizable impact the past two weeks after being called up from AHL Norfolk, played two shifts in the second period before leaving the game.

There's a chance Connolly could rejoin the Lightning before Saturday's game against the Canadiens. He helped Canada earn the bronze medal at the tournament Thursday.

The Lightning hopes Malone returns Saturday. He is scheduled to skate at today's practice and get re-evaluated.

With Hall and Wyman not in the game, C Steven Stamkos, RW Marty St. Louis and C Vinny Lecavalier saw time on the penalty kill.

Wyman, 25, has been impressing. Coach Guy Boucher said he has the combination of size and speed Tampa Bay lacks.

"Right now, the last five games, (Wyman) has been terrific," Boucher said before the game. "He hasn't been good; he's been terrific. Sometimes, one game — okay, two games, three games, and usually guys fade away. With him, it's the opposite. Every game he's getting better and better."

STARRY NIGHT: Stamkos, despite entering Thursday with a league-leading 27 goals, finished 16th among forwards in the All-Star Game fan voting, announced Thursday.

But Stamkos, whose 185,342 votes were more than 700,000 fewer than the top forward (Daniel Alfredsson of the host Senators, 897,055), said he doesn't have a problem with the voting process because of the excitement it brings the fans, who "feel like they're part of something." Stamkos is likely to be among the other 36 players picked for the game by the NHL's hockey operations department.

"Is it the best way? Probably not," Stamkos said. "But … we want our fans part of the game, they're obviously a huge reason why our league is so successful. And we've seen it in the past the pattern where the team that usually hosts it (gets a lot of players in the game), and you want some of those guys in there. It creates more excitement and buzz around the city. It's the way it's done, and everyone really doesn't have a problem with it."

Boucher said though Tampa Bay is well supported by its fans, "not all of Florida is going to vote for Steven Stamkos. … I think it's normal that some guys from other teams get a lot of votes. But Stamkos is a star. He's so important to us, and I think it'd be nice to see him get more votes, but I think in everyone's mind, he's right up there."

MISCELLANY: D Evan Oberg was a healthy scratch.

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]abay.com. Follow the Times' Lightning coverage at lightning.tampabay.com and on Twitter at @LightningTimes.

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