TAMPA — Anthony Cirelli was back on the ice Sunday with the rest of the Lightning. A scratch for Saturday’s win over the Oilers, Cirelli said he felt good and hoped to be back Monday against the Bruins at Amalie Arena.
“I’ll talk to the training staff here in a little bit and see, but I felt pretty good in practice,” Cirelli said. “I was full practice, doing pretty much everything.”
As Cirelli watched the 6-4 win Saturday, he was able to appreciate how the Lightning battled back to win.
Cirelli saw a lot of things on which Tampa Bay, which has been struggling to get on track, can build when it faces the Bruins.
Saturday was the first time this season the Lightning had trailed after two periods and won. Their four goals in the third were the most they had scored in the final period all season and something they have done only four times in team history.
For a team that has had what coach Jon Cooper called “catastrophic” breakdowns in the past, it was a solid win.
“We were down there early on, but I thought we did a good job of battling back a couple of times when the lead kind of flipped a little bit,” Cirelli said.
The Lightning tied the Oilers three times before pulling ahead for good in the third.
“And the guys kind of just stuck with it and kept playing the same way and really took care of it in that third period,” Cirelli said. “So it was nice to see, to kind of close the game out like that.”
The absence of Cirelli, who left Thursday’s win at Chicago after getting hit in the hand with the puck, left a big hole in the penalty kill. Tanner Jeannot, however, stepped up and Tampa Bay killed off all five of Edmonton’s power plays.
Cirelli liked what he saw but wasn’t surprised.
“Unbelievable,” Cirelli said. “Obviously that’s a really good power play over there (Edmonton). (The penalty kill) was a huge part of the success of winning that game.
“But we have so many gamers in this room that go out there and eat pucks continuously and battle to get pucks. Obviously, (goaltender Jonas Johansson) made some huge saves (43) as well. That was just a great team effort from everyone.”
That’s what Cirelli hopes to see more of. With a second straight win Saturday, the Lightning have won back-to-back games only twice this season.
Cirelli sees a chance to build momentum on this short three-game homestand, capped by Wednesday’s game against Winnipeg.
“Whenever you get a win and you’re playing at home, you want to try to win as many games as you can, obviously, and that was a step in the right direction,” Cirelli said. “Coming off of a good game as well in Chicago … so we’re just kind of building each and every day. We’re practicing hard, working on things that we’ve got to get better at, and just continue getting better.”
Andrei Vasilevskiy participated in practice again. The goaltender, who had back surgery in September, is nearing his return. While the initial team timeline had been for him to return around Thanksgiving, Cooper ruled out a return during this homestand.
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Vasilevskiy, who will reach the eight-week post-operation mark Thursday, said he feels good on the ice and the only milestone he has left in his rehabilitation is to be cleared by team doctors.
“I hope soon,” Vasilevskiy said.
Forward Luke Glendening, who had the winning goal Saturday, missed practice, but the team said that it was a rest day.
Contact Kristie Ackert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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