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Lightning seeks to heal after tough stretch

Anton Stralman, front, joins the list of injured Lightning defensemen after playing ill Monday.
Anton Stralman, front, joins the list of injured Lightning defensemen after playing ill Monday.
Published Mar. 10, 2016

TAMPA — The Lightning had a much-needed day off Wednesday after a tough three-games-in-four-nights stretch, which included two overtime games and a road loss at Philadelphia.

But the Lightning, which has consecutive losses after a franchise-best nine-game winning streak, hopes the day off does more than give it an extra boost for the final 15 games of the season. It also hopes it can start getting back its injured defensemen.

Anton Stralman joined Braydon Coburn on the "did not play" list for Tuesday's 1-0 overtime loss to the Bruins. Coburn missed his second straight game because of a lower-body injury suffered Saturday against the Hurricanes. Stralman was ill Monday but played in Monday's 4-2 streak-breaking loss to the Flyers.

Tampa Bay used an emergency recall to call up D Slater Koekkoek from AHL Syracuse for Monday's game. He remained in the lineup Tuesday. The Lightning called up D Luke Witkowski from Syracuse on Tuesday, but by game time it had sent him back to Syracuse as Andrej Sustr returned after missing three games with an upper-body injury.

Coach Jon Cooper said the injuries on the blue line are nicks, and he didn't think they would be long lasting.

The day off should help. The Lightning was to return to practice today before taking on Philadelphia on Friday at Amalie Arena.

Powerless Surge: During the Lightning's nine-game winning streak, its power play was still not clicking. Tampa Bay scored extra-man goals in just two of those games and was 3-for-31 during the stretch. Now it has not scored an extra-man goal in five consecutive games. Tampa Bay is 0-for-13 during the stretch, including 0-for-4 Tuesday against Boston.

Wall of Bishop: Though his personal winning streak came to an end at six games against the Bruins, G Ben Bishop saw his goals-against average drop to 2.04, which entered Wednesday tied for the league lead with the Ducks' John Gibson. He has allowed 10 goals in his past seven starts and has allowed two goals or fewer in 34 games this season. He entered Wednesday fourth in the league in save percentage (.927) and sixth in wins (28).

"All year he's been there for us," F Ryan Callahan said. "Even when we were struggling, he was putting up one, two goals against in games that we lost. You have to have that to have success in this league, and he's been good for us."

More Streaks Ended: Though the Lightning's record winning streak ended Monday, a few more streaks came to an end in Tuesday's loss to Boston.

Forwards Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov had their four-game point streaks come to an end. Johnson had scored three goals and had four assists during that streak; Kucherov had a goal and four assists. F Ondrej Palat had his three-game goal and point streaks come to an end. F Vladimir Namestnikov had his two-game point streak end.

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Tampa Bay lost for the first time in overtime at home this season Tuesday and had its six-game winning streak after regulation (overtime or shootout) also end.