1. Lightning

Lightning rookie Brayden Point out 4-6 weeks

Published Dec. 29, 2016

Lightning rookie Brayden Point is out 4-6 weeks with an upper body injury.

It's a big blow for Tampa Bay and Point, 20, who had played so well in his first full pro season. Point has three goals and 12 assists in 36 games, earning top-six type minutes.

"Pointer was really coming into his own," coach Jon Cooper said. "We moved him to the middle, he got a little feel for the league. Would be hard-pressed to say he hasn't been our best forward the last 8-10 games. He's going to be missed. It's too bad."

Point isn't the only one out. Vladislav Namestnikov (upper body), whose head hit the boards hard on a check by Shea Weber in the third period Wednesday, is out and considered day-to-day. Cedric Paquette (lower body) will be out again too. The Lightning recalled forwards Yanni Gourde and Erik Condra from AHL Syracuse, and both could play tonight against the Maple Leafs.

"Right when you think you're taking steps to get healthier, we take two steps back," Cooper said.

SHEA OKAY: There will be no hearing or supplmental discipline from the league for Weber for his hit on Namestnikov. The league's Department of Player Safety reviewed the check, stating it was clean and from the side, not from behind. Namestnikov left the game and didn't return.

FILPPULA BACK: Center Valtteri Filppula will be back in the lineup tonight after getting scratched Wednesday due to missing a morning team meeting. Filppula was not made available to the media, but was seen at Amalie Arena a half hour before Thursday's scheduled meeting. Cooper considers the matter over and done with.

"It's all about the team," Cooper said. "Everything here is team first. But the hard thing about the situation like this was, there was no ill will in any of this. That's the part that's tough, when it's a simple mistake. But everyone else is included in this, trust me. Nobody wants any of this to happen. Fortunately for us we were able to win the game. But believe me we're a much better team with Val in the lineup."

VASY AGAIN: For the second time in a week, Andrei Vasilevskiy will start in both ends of a back-to-back. Vasilevskiy won last Thursday against St. Louis, but was pulled Friday in Washington after allowing four goals on 24 shots. "It's definitely different for him," Cooper said. "Around the league, some teams play their goalie back to back. A lot of guys split in those. But it's about getting Vasy some games. It's not unheard of guys playing back to back. American League guys they play three in 2 1/2 days. Is it ideal for them? No. But it's a test, and it's another way to push yourself and another way to get better.

POOR CRUNCH: Cooper, a former AHL coach, feels for the Crunch in having to be short--handed with all the Lightning callups. Gourde was the seventh Syracuse forward to get called up this season. "I remember back when Tampa went through injuries and we were in Norfolk. It is trying when that happens. It also helped me deal with situations that are happening now in a sense that when players go down, it's not the end of the world. There are guys to fill their shoes. But it's tough for Syracuse guys because I know they have a really good thing going down there."