1. Blogs
  2. /
  3. Lightning Strikes

Lightning’s Tyler Johnson joins Ryan Callahan as Game 4 question marks

Coach Cooper vague on the status of both after neither skated Tuesday
Now the Lightning's Tyler Johnson is questionable for Game 4  (Associated Press)
Now the Lightning's Tyler Johnson is questionable for Game 4 (Associated Press)
Published Apr. 17, 2018
Updated Apr. 18, 2018

NEWARK, N.J. — Lightning C Tyler Johnson is questionable for Game 4 of a first-round playoff series against the Devils on Wednesday night at the Prudential Center.

Johnson did not practice Tuesday. The team said it was for body maintenance. But when asked afterward if Johnson would be ready to play, coach Jon Cooper said, "We hope. We'll have to see in the morning if he'll be okay."

Johnson played 21 shifts for a total ice time of 13:08 during Monday's 5-2 loss in Game 3.

C Matthew Peca, recalled Sunday from AHL Syracuse, replaced Johnson on the second line during Tuesday's practice.

RW Ryan Callahan, who missed Game 3 with a right shoulder injury, did not practice Tuesday after skating with the team Monday morning.

When asked if Callahan would return Wednesday, Cooper was vague, offering, "Probably. Probably not."

Cory Conacher replaced Callahan in Game 3 on the line with Cedric Paquette and Chris Kunitz.

Only a flesh wound

One injured player who will play tonight is C J.T. Miller. He needed 13 stitches to close a pair of cuts suffered in the final minute of the second period when he took a puck off his right check.

Miller immediately skated off the ice.

"Obviously you're a little worried when you see all that blood on the ice," Miller said. "Actually, it was a good place to get hit, I guess. It's definitely a lot more sore this morning than when I got hit. They put some drugs in your face and you don't really feel it after that."

Miller needed one stitch to close a cut on his lip and six on the inside of his check and six on the outside. They were administered between periods, and finished, Miller said, with two minutes remaining in the intermission. He returned to the ice and resume his shift on the power play, which is what he was doing when he was injured.

Technically, he did not miss a shift.

"Perfect timing," he said.

Was Schneider the difference?

The Devils changed goalies for Game 3, going with Cory Schneider. He made 34 saves and helped the Devils to their first win of the series.

Did the move from Keith Kinkaid, who allowed nine goals in the first two games, make that much of a difference?

Yes, if you ask the Devils.

"(Brian Boyle) and I looked at each other halfway through the game and said to each other, 'This is the Cory that we know,' " Blake Coleman said after the game.

But the answer is no if you ask the Lightning.

"I don't think so," Cooper said. "There's momentum swings weather the goalie changes or not. Big hits, big goals, bad penalties, you name it, that can swing momentum. Changing the goalie made no different for us."

Added C Brayden Point: "I don't think it should change how we play. I think we have to keep trying to do what we know works for us and hopefully we do more of that than we did in Game 3."

Vasy a Vezina finalist

Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Lightning, Connor Hellebuyck of the Jets and Pekka Rinne of the Predators are the finalists for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the top goalie in the NHL.

Vasilevskiy tied Hellebuyck with a league-leading 44 wins and Rinne with an NHL-best eight shutouts. Vasilevskiy compiled a 2.62 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in 65 appearances.

"I'm very grateful and honored to be nominated for the Vezina Trophy," Vasilevskiy said. "I would like to individually thank each one of my teammates for their efforts this season. This nomination would certainly not be possible without all the work they do in front of me night in and night out."