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Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) aims a shot as Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (72) defends the net during the third period of Thursday's preseason matchup.
Defenseman Mikhail Sergachev leaves Thursday’s preseason game with an undisclosed injury.
Coach Jon Cooper says the defenseman is being evaluated, but offered no details on his possible injury.
John Romano | Everyone agrees the NHL regular season is one long opening act, but the Lightning have perfected the art of peaking at the right time.
Tampa Bay will be missing three pieces from last season’s defense corps on opening night. Here is how they plan to adjust.

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  1. Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) aims a shot as Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (72) defends the net during the third period of Thursday's preseason matchup.
  2. The Lightning are expecting bigger things from defenseman Mikhail Sergachev this season.
  3. Cal Foote will start this season paired with veteran Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman. “Every day, I feel I can get more comfortable with him,” Foote says.
  4. Instead of living and dying with every game, it helps if you look at Tampa Bay's regular season as one, long teachable moment in preparation for the postseason. Just ask coach Jon Cooper.
  5. Lightning center Brayden Point (21) races Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm (14) to the puck during a preseason game Sept. 29 in Nashville, Tennessee.
  6. Lightning players huddle on the ice during training camp late last month at TGH Ice Plex in Brandon. From left are goaltender Brian Elliott, left wing Alex Killorn, center Brayden Point, center Steven Stamkos, left wing Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, and defenseman Victor Hedman.
  7. Ian Cole, a first-round pick of the Blues in 2007, will play for the Lightning after signing a one-year deal in the offseason.
  8. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said it was important to players that their families and pets evacuate with them to Nashville ahead of Hurricane Ian. “I wouldn’t have left without (them); that was the bottom line," he says.
  9. Lightning forward Cole Koepke (45) and Predators center Mikael Granlund (64) chase the puck during the first period of Friday's game in Nashville, Tennessee.
  10. Forward Cole Koepke is a frontrunner to crack the Lightning’s opening-night roster.
  11. “In times like these, the most important thing we can do is support one another," Lightning owner Jeff Vinik said in a statement, "and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”
  12. Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59) falls as he chases the puck with Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) and defenseman Victor Hedman (77) during the second period of Thursday's game in Nashville, Tennessee.
  13. The Lightning's Cole Koepke (45) works against the Carolina Hurricanes' Seth Jarvis (24) during the first period of Tuesday's preseason game in Raleigh, North Carolina.
  14. Pictured through the doorway between the two rinks, Lightning players practice during training camp Friday at TGH Ice Plex in Brandon.
  15. Fans gather outside Amalie Arena for the Lightning's official watch party before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final in June in Tampa. The team has postponed preseason home games scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday at the arena.
  16. Cole Koepke excelled with the Crunch last season and appears to be the front-runner to fill in while Anthony Cirelli is out.
  17. The masks, pads and sticks are back, and so are the Lightning. Some of the faces have changed, but the Lightning are attempting to be the first team since the 1980s Oilers to reach five Stanley Cup finals in less than 10 years.
  18. Lightning head coach Jon Cooper huddles with his team on the ice during training camp Thursday at TGH Ice Plex in Brandon.
  19. Lightning defenseman Zach Bogosian wore a red no-contact jerseys but didn't look like a player who was still six to eight weeks away from returning to action.
  20. Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm (14), of Sweden, and San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (48), of the Czech Republic, battle during a 2019 game in Nashville, Tennessee. The forthcoming NHL regular season’s games between the Predators and Sharks in Prague face an obstacle.
  21. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said Wednesday that a player like defenseman Ryan McDonagh can't be replaced. Multiple players will need to step up now, on the ice and in the locker room, to help mitigate his loss.
  22. Lightning center Brayden Point says Wednesday that he feels good and has no pain entering the team's training camp.
  23. Right wing Nikita Kucherov and the Lightning will be looking to establish chemistry with a few new players this season.
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