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Lightning’s Jan Rutta back for Game 6; Erik Cernak remains out

Tampa Bay will have the same semifinal lineup tonight as in Game 5, when they routed the Islanders.
Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta is helped to the bench after a hit by Islanders center Mathew Barzal at the end of the second period in Game 5. Rutta did not return to that game, but is back tonight.
Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta is helped to the bench after a hit by Islanders center Mathew Barzal at the end of the second period in Game 5. Rutta did not return to that game, but is back tonight. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Jun. 23

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta will return to the lineup for tonight’s Game 6 of the Stanley Cup semifinals, but the team will be without defenseman Erik Cernak for a second straight game.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper said his team will have the same lineup for Game 6 as it did for their Game 5 win over the Islanders, which means defenseman Luke Schenn will draw in for Cernak.

The status of Cernak and Rutta was uncertain at the start of the day. The Lightning lead the series 3-2 and can advance to their second straight Cup final with a win.

Cernak, who did not play Monday due to an upper-body injury, will be re-evaluated after tonight’s game. Cernak skated a few laps on the ice at Nassau Coliseum during morning skate, but left before the organized part of the session began.

Rutta left the game after taking a cross check from Islanders forward Mathew Barzal at the end of the second period and did not return. Barzal was fined $5,000, the largest amount allowed under the collective bargaining agreement, but will play tonight.

Schenn logged 15:36 of ice time last time out, his most during the postseason.

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