Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Luke Schenn were scratched from Monday’s lineup against the Dallas Stars for Game 2, an eventual Lightning 3-2 win. Instead, Jan Rutta — who played in the round-robin matchup against Boston — and Carter Verhaeghe — in his first outing since Game 5 against the Islanders in the Eastern Conference final — saw action.
Verhaeghe posted 7:23 minutes (over 13 shifts) on ice and two blocked shots. Rutta, back in a pairing with Victor Hedman, logged 14:48 minutes (over 23 shifts) in addition to one shot on goal, two hits and three blocked shots.
“There’s always that concern,” coach Jon Cooper said of Rutta’s hiatus. “He’s been healthy for weeks now but because things have been going well for us (he hasn’t played). Your worry (as a coach) is how are they going to adjust to this because it’s extremely hard to jump into an NHL game after you’ve missed time."
Braydon Coburn was in pre-game warmups, but later was scratched on the team’s final roster report. Monday night was the first time Tampa Bay put 12 forwards on the ice since it started using an 11-7 lineup in Game 2 against the Bruins in the second round; that’s when Ryan McDonagh was injured in the previous game.
Steven Stamkos was not available despite practicing with the scratches in Monday’s morning skate. Cooper said it was unlikely the captain would play in Game 2 but the team hasn’t ruled him out for the series.
Schenn had played in 11 straight games dating to the Boston series. Bogosian had skated in 19 games this postseason — only missing the second round-robin game against Boston. But in Saturday’s Stanley Cup final debut, Bogosian had a tough time tracking a play that led to Dallas' opening goal in the first period.
Bogosian missed the play on the puck that swung around the back of the boards and instead made his way toward a checked Brayden Point in the corner.
Cooper said one of the two was unfit to play and another was a coach’s decision, but did not specify further.
“We’re doing everything we can, as a staff and as a group to put the best team on the ice to win that night and guys understand,” Cooper said of the team’s decision to sit Schenn and Bogosian. “We’ve been with this group for a while and we felt that this group could fit the pace of the play that we needed and they did.”
at Dallas, 8 p.m. Wednesday
Rogers Place, Edmonton
TV/radio: NBCSN, 970-AM