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Lightning pregame: Ondřej Palát returns to lineup against Capitals

The Tampa Bay forward left Monday night’s game in the first period with an upper-body injury.
Washington Capitals left wing Jakub Vrana (13), of the Czech Republic, works for the puck against Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18), of the Czech Republic, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

TAMPA – Tampa Bay’s Ondřej Palát is returned to the lineup in tonight’s matchup against the Washington Capitals.

Palát took a big hit from Boston’s Connor Clifton just over six minutes into the first period Monday and went to the locker room after the shift. He did not return to action for the rest of the contest after sustaining an upper-body injury on the play.

Related: More Lightning: When do you know? Ask the Capitals

He missed Tuesday’s practice, but skated on Friday and again Saturday morning. Cooper said he feels good about Palát’s return on Saturday against the Capitals.

With Palát back in the lineup, Mathieu Joseph will be a healthy scratch tonight along with Danick Martel and Cameron Gaunce.

Cooper expects veteran defenseman Anton Strålman to return to the lineup as well at some point during the Lightning’s road trip next week.

Related: More Lightning: Lightning's Ryan Callahan nominated for Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

Tonight’s matchup marks the end of its regular season games at home. The next time the team will play on home ice will be the week after next when the playoffs begin.

Tampa Bay is on a four-game win-streak coming into tonight’s contest and has won 12 of its last 13 games at home.

With a win tonight, the Lightning can make history once again tying the 1976-77 Montréal Canadiens for the second-most wins in a regular season (60).

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.

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