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Lightning shifts up the lines for game against Ottawa

Tampa Bay is in the position to try different things with its spot atop the league secure.
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) makes a save while taking on the Ottawa Senators during first-period action in Ottawa, Ontario, Monday, April 1, 2019. [Sean Kilpatrick | The Canadian Press via AP]
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) makes a save while taking on the Ottawa Senators during first-period action in Ottawa, Ontario, Monday, April 1, 2019. [Sean Kilpatrick | The Canadian Press via AP]
Published Apr. 2, 2019

The Lightning rolled out some new lines on Monday, mixing it up all the way through the lineup. All four lines took on a new look.

The most notable change was to the second line. Even as the first, third and fourth have shifted some (though not much) through the last few months, Tyler Johnson, Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov have been constant.

Related: MORE: Victor Hedman doubtful to play in Lighting's final four games

Against Ottawa, Johnson shifts to the third line and Yanni Gourde takes his place with Point and Kucherov.

“We’re in the position to be able to look at some other things and put guys in positions they haven’t been in,” Jon Cooper said. “You never know when that’s going to happen.”

The Lightning changed every line, but didn’t make wholesale changes. Each line has two players who’ve been on that line for a while (and each has its usual center), with a winger shifted.

Mathieu Joseph moves to the top line with Ondřej Palát and Steven Stamkos, where he spent some time early in the season. The rookie, who started the season hot, is likely one of those players Cooper would like to see in a different position. His speed adds a good dynamic and can open space for Stamkos.

The defenseman pairings also changed, but only to account for Victor Hedman’s injury. Cameron Gaunce enters the lineup for his first game with the Lightning, paired with Jan Rutta. Braydon Coburn is back with Mikhail Sergachev, who had been playing with Hedman.

Monday’s lines:

Palat-Stamkos-Joseph

Gourde-Point-Kucherov

Johnson-Cirelli-Killorn

Miller-Paquette-Erne