Thursday, February 22, 2018
Sports

Lightning get 5 back from World Cup

TAMPA — Five more players joined the Lightning on Wednesday after playing for their countries in the World Cup: left wing Jonathan Drouin (North America); defenseman Andrej Sustr and left wing Ondrej Palat (Czech Republic); center Valtteri Filppula (Finland); and defenseman Nikita Nesterov (Russia).

Defensemen Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman (Sweden) had yet to report.

Also absent was right wing Nikita Kucherov (Russia), an unsigned restricted free agent.

Center Steven Stamkos (Canada) is the only Lightning player left in the World Cup. Canada can win the tournament with a victory in tonight's Game 2 of the best-of-three final against Europe.

The five returners plus forward Mitchell Stevens, a 2015 second-round draft pick, and goalies Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy participated in an hourlong workout at Amalie Arena.

"It's nice, obviously," Sustr said. "Everybody's looking forward to being back here. Three weeks in a hotel room is not ideal."

Said Palat: "I think I'm in good shape. I've been skating every day."

Also Wednesday, the Lightning cut 22 players, trimming its camp roster to 53.

World Cup: Confidence boost for Europe

TORONTO — Europe started fast and strong against Canada, getting three shots on goalie Carey Price and drawing a penalty in the first 21 seconds of Game 1 in the World Cup final.

“They skated right by us on the first shift," Canadian coach Mike Babcock said.

The eight-nation team seemed to be the better squad on the ice for long stretches before losing 3-1 Tuesday.

Instead of skating off discouraged, Europe — made up of players whose countries didn't have a team in the eight-team event — appears to have boosted its confidence with the relatively competitive game. "There was quite a bit of time during the game that we were dictating the pace and dictating the game," Slovenian forward Anze Kopitar of the Kings said. "It certainly showed that we can play with them."

Game 2 in the best-of-three series is tonight. "We have a feeling in there that this is far from over," said Danish forward Frans Nielsen, who plays in the NHL for the Red Wings.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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