1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Lightning

Lightning without Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Anthony Cirelli vs. Oilers

All three forwards are considered day-to-day. Edmonton is without star Connor McDavid as well.
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Anthony Cirelli is seen against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday. [PAUL VERNON  |  AP]
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Anthony Cirelli is seen against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday. [PAUL VERNON | AP]
Published Feb. 14
Updated Feb. 14

TAMPA — The Lightning are out of players. Everyone who is healthy was set to play in Thursday’s game against the Oilers, and even then the team had to put a defenseman in at forward.

Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Anthony Cirelli were all unavailable for the game. That left the Lightning with only 11 healthy forwards, forcing a lineup of seven defensemen.

Related: The Lightning trio that got stuck on the ice and saved the day

Well, technically, they were left with 10 healthy forwards and one roster spot. The Lightning recalled Alex Volkov to fill that opening.

To bring up another forward from the AHL, the Lightning would have had to put one of the aforementioned players on injured reserve. All three are considered day-to-day and would have to miss at least three games to go on IR.

Stamkos missed his third game, while dealing with a lingering issue. Coach Jon Cooper had hoped he’d be able to play Thursday. Stamkos was on the ice for morning skate, but did not take line rushes and left early.

Cirelli left after the first period of Tuesday’s overtime win over Pittsburgh after blocking Evgeni Malkin’s shot. Kucherov left the same game at the end of the second period, after being pinched along the boards awkwardly.

Cooper said none is expected to be out long.

The Oilers have their own injury issues. Connor McDavid, a name that sells tickets, will be out for two to three weeks with a quad injury. Edmonton does still have the league’s leading scorer in Leon Draisaitl, who is on pace to beat the 127 points Kucherov posted last season.

Related: Yanni Gourde's first goal in 35 games gave the Lightning an overtime win against the Penguins

Defenseman Cameron Gaunce will made his season debut, and his NHL debut at forward, playing on the third line with Cedric Paquette and Pat Maroon. He was recalled last Friday after both Jan Rutta and Ryan McDonagh were hurt, as insurance against another injury.

Volkov slotted in on the fourth line with fellow rookies Carter Verhaeghe and Mitchell Stephens, while Yanni Gourde shifted up to the top line.

This is Volkov’s third recall this season and Thursday was his ninth game. On his first NHL look, on Oct. 30, Volkov played with Stamkos and Kucherov. On his next stint, in January, he played in a bottom-six role with less pressure.

Contact Diana C. Nearhos at Follow @dianacnearhos.


  1. Trading Martin St. Louis was hard, but the Lightning's return turned out to be even better than they thought at the time.
  2. Colorado Avalanche left wing J.T. Compher, left, flies into Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Curtis McElhinney while pursuing the puck in the third period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, in Denver. The Lightning won 4-3 in overtime.
  3. Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, right, drives past Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon to score the winning goal in overtime of an NHL hockey game Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, in Denver. The Lightning won 4-3.
  4. New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman during the second period of a Feb. 8 game in Newark, N.J.
  5. New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (20) during warmups before a recent hockey game against the Dallas Stars in Newark, N.J.
  6. Distant Thunder fan Eva Cervenkova fist bumps Nikita Kucherov before the Lightning's game against the Flyers on Saturday.
  7. Members of the men's ice hockey team from the United States pose in front of the Olympic rings during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
  8. New Jersey Devils' Blake Coleman (20) brings the puck up the ice against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C., on Friday.
  9. It was that kind of game Saturday night. Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Robert Hagg (8) collides with Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) as defenseman Luke Schenn (2) comes to help out during the third period of Tampa Bay's 5-3 victory. JASON BEHNKEN | AP Photo
  10. Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) handles the puck against Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim (6) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, in Tampa, Fla.
  11. February 13, 2020: Edmonton Oilers Right Wing Zack Kassian (44) and Tampa Bay Lightning Defenseman Eric Cernak (81)during the NHL game between the Edmonton Oilers and Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. Brian McWalters/CSM(Credit Image: © Brian Mcwalters/CSM via ZUMA Wire)
  12. Tampa Bay Lightning's Pat Maroon, center, is congratulated by teammates, from left, Luke Schenn, Braydon Coburn, Mitchell Stephens and Cameron Gaunce after scoring against the Edmonton Oilers during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, in Tampa, Fla.