Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Valtteri Filppula close to return for Lightning

Lightning center Valtteri Filppula, center, has been out of the lineup since last week’s game against Columbus with an upper-body injury. He participated in Saturday morning’s skate.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Lightning center Valtteri Filppula, center, has been out of the lineup since last week’s game against Columbus with an upper-body injury. He participated in Saturday morning’s skate.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — C Valtteri Filppula might be back sooner than anticipated.

Filppula, who missed his third consecutive game with an upper-body injury, participated in Saturday's morning skate, albeit in a red no-contact jersey.

While coach Jon Cooper said Filppula won't play Tuesday against the Red Wings, he could return by next weekend's back-to-back Friday and Saturday.

"It's encouraging to see him out there," Cooper said. "Baby steps, but we thought it might be weeks away and now maybe it's not going to be that."

Filppula suffered the undisclosed injury in the first period of Sunday's 4-0 win over Columbus. He said it happened on an ordinary play that "happens every game." He also skated on Friday's off day. While Filppula admits he still doesn't feel great, it was a "big step" to be back on the ice.

"It's tough, at least for me, it's the first time (for) this kind of stuff," Filppula said. "I don't really know how long it's going to be, but definitely it's nice for my head to be able to get out there and spend some time with the guys on the ice. So it's nice, hopefully I'm not too far away."

Medical matters: RW Ryan Callahan also didn't play Saturday, dealing with an undisclosed injury. Callahan appeared to get shaken up blocking a shot Thursday, but didn't miss a shift.

C Cedric Paquette (illness) was a game-time decision, but played. Cooper said a flu bug is going around again. RW Jonathan Marchessault took Callahan's spot on the line with LW Ondrej Palat and C Tyler Johnson. RW Mike Blunden was a healthy scratch as the team went with seven defensemen.

Break time: Cooper's decision to cancel Friday's practice at the last minute was partly due to his sense the team needed a mental break. So after a meeting, players were sent off to enjoy an off day.

"It was overwhelmingly we needed a little rest here," Cooper said. "So in some of these situations, you got to listen to your players."

On point: C Brian Boyle, and his 6-foot-7 frame, has given a boost to the power play, which snapped an 0-for-19 skid with a goal Thursday.

Boyle hasn't spent much time on the power play in his two seasons with the Lightning but he has experience, scoring 16 power-play goals in his first year with Manchester of the American Hockey League in 2007-08. He had five power-play goals in five seasons with the Rangers.

"I love it," Boyle said. "I want to help, as long as we're shooting pucks, it gives me an opportunity to have an impact. It takes five guys, it's a privilege to be on it and if I'm on it I'm going to do everything I can to stay on it and help it succeed."

Nuts and bolts: G Ben Bishop started. … RW Jonathan Drouin has three goals and one assist in five games for AHL Syracuse since his return.

Jersey time: The Lightning will auction off select game-worn jerseys from the 2014-15 season and playoffs (not Stanley Cup final) Thursday through Monday at 5 p.m. Go to auctions.nhl.com to view the auction and bid.

Contact Joe Smith at joesmith@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Up next

vs. Red Wings, 7:30 Tuesday, Amalie Arena TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 970-AM

Valtteri Filppula close to return for Lightning 03/19/16 [Last modified: Saturday, March 19, 2016 10:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays journal: Erasmo Ramirez ready to start a day after closing game

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — RHP Erasmo Ramirez was on the mound to finish Sunday's 15-inning marathon win over the Twins and will start tonight's game against the Rangers.

    The Rays’ Erasmo Ramirez throws 12 pitches in the 15th inning against the Twins to earn the save then says after the game that he’s ready to make his scheduled start against the Rangers: “My arm feels good.”
  2. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays sure made it interesting Sunday, taking an early lead, watching their beleaguered bullpen blow it, rallying to tie in the ninth, battling the Twins to take a lead in the 14th then giving it up again.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  3. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  4. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    The Rays won because they got two innings of good relief from each of the two pitchers who contributed to them losing Saturday's game, Danny Farquhar (who again struck out Miguel Sano) and Tommy Hunter, who both posted zeroes.