Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher said this morning that right wing Steve Downie will not make the team's two-game trip to Washington and Pittsburgh, meaning the team will be without another top-six forward in the tough back-to-back matchups.
Downie has been battling a back injury, but both he and Boucher said he was going to play Tuesday before being a surprise late scratch against the Leafs; Boucher said it was an "organizational call." It will mean three straight missed games for a tough forward whom Boucher said is very difficult to keep out of the lineup.
Downie didn't practice Wednesday and was unavailable for comment.
"It's not bad, he's much better today," Boucher said. "But he wouldn't play in the two games anyways, so keep him here, rest and have him back probably this weekend."
Other notes from practice: It appears Boucher is leaning towards starting Dan Ellis in goal Thursday night, as he's coming off an impressive shutout Tuesday night against the Leafs. ... Boucher said he didn't have any results yet from LW Simon Gagne's nerve conduction test that he underwent Tuesday afternoon.