SUNRISE – F Cory Conacher joined the team today but coach Jon Cooper said he probably will not play tonight against the Panthers.
“We’ve got guys that ae on the cusp of maybe playing maybe not. I think we should be in decent shape tonight, but just in case. We have limited numbers, so if guys aren’t ready to go tonight he’ll be in, but as of now he probably will not be in.”
Cooper said Conacher’s arrival is not related to F Jonathan Drouin, who has not played since taking a hit to the head last Tuesday against the Islanders in New Tork.
“I don’t know necessary about where Joe’s timetable is,” Cooper said. “We’re hoping very soon he’ll be back. We just don’t have a lot of bodies here. Conacher is well deserving to be up here.”
Ben Bishop will be in goal tonight.
F Nikita Kucherov was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week. He had three goals and seven points last week.
The Lightning play the Devils tonight for the third time this season and the fifth time in its last 17 regular season games dating back to last year.
The Lightning are 3-1 in the first four meetings during this stretch, including a 3-2 win at Amalie Arena during the second game of the season. The Devils won 3-1 during the last matchup Oct. 29 in New Jersey.
“It’s really weird we’ve played Jersey so much,” coach Jon Cooper said after today’s morning skate. “The prep time is, it actually makes it easier because we know what this team is all about. Our biggest thing is sticking to our structure, because if you escape that against a team like New Jersey, who is really structurally sound, you’re going to be in trouble, and that’s what happened to us last game.”
Ben Bishop will be in goal tonight.
In other news, F Jonathan Drouin skated by himself this morning, his first on-ice work since taking a hit to the head during Tuesday’s game in New York against the Islanders.
Ryan Callahan fights Calvin de Haan of the Islanders during Tuesday's game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Joe Smith recaps the Lightning road trip and talks with special guest Ryan Callahan about Callahan's return from hip surgery, his kids' Halloween costume and Hockey Fights Cancer Month in the latest episode of our Lightning Strikes! podcast.
Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin will miss tonight's game against the Bruins, and coach Jon Cooper isn't sure when he'll be back in the lineup.
Drouin left Tuesday's game after taking a hit to the head by Islanders D Calvin De Haan, who received a five-minute major for interference, but no supplemental discipline from the league. Drouin didn't return to the game, but has been feeling much better since. GM Steve Yzerman said Drouin is considered day-to-day. It's unknown whether or not Drouin suffered a concussion.
Cooper said Drouin will be evaluated again tonight by team doctors. Asked if he knows whether it's a short-term or long-term absence, Cooper said he didn't know. Cooper does known he'll miss the talented wing, who has five points in 10 games.
"He's an extremely talented player offensively," Cooper said., "He's got special skills. He's a guy that's when it's a one-goal game, everytime he's on the ice, he has that ability to score for you. Clearly you're taking a high offensive guy out of our lineup. And the one thing is we're blessed we've got a few of those guys on our team." …
The Lightning bolstered it's blueline by calling up defenseman Slater Koekkoek from AHL Syracuse.
After losing three straight games, including Sunday's in embarassing fashion, the Lightning believes tonight's playoff rematch with the Islanders must be a turning point.
"We've got to get back to square one," goalie Ben Bishop said. "Hit the reset button."
Bishop said Tampa Bay needs to keep it simple, coach Jon Cooper using just one word: "Work." That holds true especially on the defensive end, having given up six goals in Sunday's loss to the Rangers, including a dozen odd-man rushes.
"We've been thinking about one net, but not the other one," Cooper said. "That was something that happened with us three years ago, but has not been our mentality the last two years. For some reason, we forgot about our own net. That's the net we've got to worry about."
The Lightning bolstered it's blueline by calling up defenseman Slater Koekkoek from AHL Syracuse. Koekkoek, who made the opening night roster, had been with the Crunch to get playing time. He'll be in the lineup tonight, with Nikita Nesterov likely a healthy scratch.
"His skating ability, his ability to defend - which is something we're not doing right now," Cooper said. "Hopefully he can add a spark for us." …