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Steven Stamkos leads Lightning lineup for first preseason game

Tampa Bay takes on Carolina in their first preseason game.
Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) smiles as his team has some offensive success after a goal during a scrimmage on the first day on the ice at the beginning of training camp at the Ice Sports Forum on September 13, 2019 in Brandon, FL. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published Sep. 17
Updated Sep. 18

TAMPA – Steven Stamkos headlined the Lightning lineup on Tuesday night in Tampa Bay’s first preseason game, a 3-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at Amalie Arena.

Stamkos led a starting lineup that included veterans Alex Killorn, Anthony Cirelli and Ryan McDonagh. Prospect Cal Foote, who spent last season with the AHL Syracuse Crunch, also started Tuesday’s preseason game.

Stamkos deviated from his usual center position on Tuesday night, moving over to right wing with Anthony Cirelli at center.

"Training camp is time to look at all different angles," coach Jon Cooper said. We're missing a centerman on our team and so other guys are going to have to jump into those situations."

He pointed out the Lightning have had many centers play wing. It's not something Stamkos has done often, though.

Cooper sees practices and scrimmages as an opportunity to mix prospects in with veterans. In the preseason games, he expects to have separate veteran and prospect lines.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper said his team is ready to get into preseason competition.

“Guys are sick of practices and they want to get in the games,” Cooper said. “They want to get a feel of playing against other players and it’s all about getting their timing in.”

Cooper sees practices and scrimmages as an opportunity to mix prospects in with veterans. In the preseason games, he expects to have separate veteran and prospect lines.

“It all depends who is in the lineup,” Cooper said."You usually try to keep (veterans) together, but because half to two-thirds of the team is new guys, you are going to run into a spot where rookies are playing with vets.”

The Lightning will use these preseason games to build team chemistry, but early exhibitions also allow the team to evaluate younger prospects.

“This, usually, is the only time you’re going to get to see your prospects,” Cooper said. “Players that are pushing for (roster) spots, to get a good look at them, these are the games you have to do it.”

Tuesday’s Lineup:

Forward Lines

Alex Killorn-Anthony Cirelli-Steven Stamkos

Mathieu Joseph-Yanni Gourde-Cory Conacher

Danick Martel-Ross Colton-Alex Barre-Boulet

Gabriel Fortier-Mitchell Stephens-Taylor Raddysh

Defensive pairings

Ryan McDonagh-Cal Foote

Cameron Gaunce-Ben Thomas

Braydon Coburn-Jan Rutta

Goalies

Scott Wedgewood

Curtis McElhinney

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