TAMPA — Lightning wing Ryan Malone has a stomach injury severe enough (perhaps a tear, coach Guy Boucher said) that the team believes he might not be back before the playoffs.
Malone, hurt when he slid into a net during Tuesday's loss to the Sabres, is the latest in a string of injuries that will leave Tampa Bay severely shorthanded Saturday against the Hurricanes.
Left wing Johan Harju was called up from AHL Norfolk on Thursday.
"We're not just short-staffed. We're quality short-staffed," Boucher said. "That hurts when you play teams that are fighting for their lives."
Defenseman Mike Lundin is out indefinitely with an abdominal injury, though his recovery likely will be weeks, not months.
Boucher all but admitted center Nate Thompson sustained at least a mild concussion from a hit during Sunday's victory over the Blues; "a spinning head," Boucher called it.
And defenseman Matt Smaby, though he might play, still is smarting from an inadvertent knee to his groin area from Buffalo's Tyler Ennis.
"It's tough to replace guys like that," center Vinny Lecavalier said. "Everybody is going to have to step out of the box and do things to help."