SUNRISE — Home ice is still on the line in the Lightning’s regular-season finale against the Panthers tonight, but who will actually be on the ice for Tampa Bay at the BB&T Center?
The Lightning will be without forward Pat Maroon, who was suspended one game for unsportsmanlike conduct, and forward Barclay Goodrow, who is sidelined indefinitely with an upper-body injury.
Injured defensemen Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh and Jan Rutta all missed Saturday’s game against the Panthers and are listed as day-to-day. The Lightning called up Fredrik Claesson and Ben Thomas from the taxi squad to give the team six healthy defensemen.
Mitchell Stephens played his first game in nearly a month Saturday, drawing in for Alex Barre-Boulet. But with Maroon and Goodrow out, it’s likely Barre-Boulet will return and Gemel Smith will be promoted from the practice squad to fill in at forward. Daniel Walcott could also be promoted from the taxi squad.
If promoted, Smith would play in his first NHL game since Feb. 25.
Though he’s not listed on an injury report, forward Ondrej Palat left Saturday’s game with 10:57 remaining in the third period after getting hit with a puck.
It’s not clear whether Goodrow’s injury happened when he was involved in a fight with Panthers forward Noel Acciari late in the third period. Goodrow hit Acciari into the boards, then was on the receiving end of a hit from Jonathan Huberdeau before Goodrow dropped gloves with Acciari.
Despite losing both ends of back-to-back games Friday at home against Dallas and Saturday against the Panthers in Sunrise, the Lightning can earn home-ice advantage with a regulation win tonight.
Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said that Sam Bennett and Brandon Montour won’t play tonight. Both players were assessed 10-minute misconduct penalties in Saturday’s game and Montour was fined for spearing Maroon. Maroon was suspended for pulling away from a linesman after the two players were separated and instigating a fight.
Florida will get former Lightning center Carter Verhaeghe, who missed 13 games with an upper-body injury, back tonight.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at email@example.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.
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