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Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 1:26 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Lightning scramble to field healthy lineup

TAMPA -- With injuries wreaking havoc with their regular lineup, the Tampa Bay Lightning are dodging and weaving to put skaters on the ice against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The Lightning lost defensemen Victor Hedman to a lower-body injury and Keith Aulie with a broken hand during a win against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. On the plus side, defensemen Radko Gudas and Eric Brewer, who have sat out five and two games respectively, appear ready to return.

"They should be good," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.

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Posted On Thursday, 12.05.2013 / 1:01 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Cooper wants goal-starved Lightning to stick with it

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning open a two-game homestand Thursday when the Ottawa Senators visit Tampa Bay Times Forum, and if the visitors are bringing any gifts, the Lightning hope it is in the form of a few scoring opportunities.

Tampa Bay has been shut out in consecutive games and three times in five games. Excluding an empty-net goal by Tyler Johnson against the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov. 27, the Lightning are scoreless in 135 minutes. Add to this the power play, which still ranks eighth in the NHL but is 4-for-46 in the past 15 games, and it is clear that the Lightning are enduring a significant power outage.

"Hopefully we can turn that around tonight," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We're going to have to do that soon because there are too many teams that have closed the gap and are starting to pass us now.

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Posted On Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 2:45 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Lightning give Bishop rest; Lindback faces Flyers

TAMPA -- Despite producing a 37-save shutout against the New York Rangers on Monday, Ben Bishop will take a seat on the bench and Anders Lindback will start in net for the Tampa Bay Lightning when they meet the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

"Ben has been exceptional for us," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "At this rate, if you do the math, Bishop will play more games potentially this year than he has played in his NHL career total. Part of it is just managing his minutes.

"On the other hand, Lindback is extremely capable and he needs games. This is just part of the plan."

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Posted On Monday, 11.25.2013 / 2:12 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Kucherov to play first NHL game for Lightning

TAMPA -- For the Tampa Bay Lightning, coming off a four-game West Coast road swing where they went 0-3-1, there very well may be no place like home. At least, they hope so.

Monday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum the Lightning will met the New York Rangers, a team they have lost three straight games to by a combined score of 12-4.

To make matters that much more difficult, New York has won six of its last nine games and has the most road wins in the Eastern Conference with eight.

With Steven Stamkos out with a broken tibia and Ryan Malone nursing a lower-body injury, the Lightning have reached down to their American Hockey League affiliate in Syracuse and promoted forward Nikita Kucherov, a second-round selection (No. 58) in the 2011 NHL Draft. This game will mark Kucherov's NHL debut after only 17 games with Syracuse.

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Posted On Thursday, 11.14.2013 / 7:35 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Ducks' Perry in lineup against Lightning

TAMPA -- Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry, fighting the flu, will be in the lineup when the Ducks face the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday night.

Perry will skate on a line with Nick Bonino and Dustin Penner.

Anaheim, in the middle of a four-game road trip through the Eastern Time Zone, has been hit with the flu bug. Center Ryan Getzlaf will miss his third consecutive game.

Getzlaf, on the road to recovery, may be available against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night, coach Bruce Boudreau said Thursday morning. If not, then certainly next week when Anaheim concludes its road trip against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Posted On Thursday, 11.07.2013 / 1:18 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Oilers' Hall ready to return against Lightning

TAMPA -- Edmonton Oilers left wing Taylor Hall will make his return to the lineup Thursday when the team visits the Tampa Bay Lightning at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Hall, out since Oct. 22 with a knee injury, has been cleared to play by the Edmonton medical staff.

"When they told me I'd be out four weeks you always think you can get back a little sooner," Hall said. "You never know what is going to happen with that process but I had a feeling I'd be back sooner than that. You never know how you're going to come back from an injury but I feel good enough to play, so it's time to play."

Hall said he'll be wearing a knee brace for the remainder of the season.

"It's fine," he said. "It's a little clunky but it feels good on my knee."

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Posted On Saturday, 11.02.2013 / 11:20 AM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Lightning, Blues feeling confident after shutouts

TAMPA -- After the Tampa Bay Lightning and the St. Louis Blues each posted a shutout against their respective opponent Friday night, they rested Saturday morning.

The Lightning arrived home from Raleigh, N.C., where they defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. St. Louis made the hop north from Sunrise, Fla., after shutting out the Florida Panthers 4-0. With each team having played the night before, morning skates were optional, with only a handful of players on the ice.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper tapped Ben Bishop to start in net Saturday against the Blues. Bishop stopped all 31 shots he faced against the Hurricanes for his eighth win and first shutout of the season.

The Blues are expected to counter with Jaroslav Halak in net.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.26.2013 / 11:54 AM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Lightning don't want to underestimate Sabres

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning wrap up their longest homestand of the season against the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night, and they are finishing the seven-game stint with an extra morning off.

Both teams had optional skates this morning and very few players took advantage of the ice time.

But while the Buffalo Sabres, who won their second game of the season Friday night against the Florida Panthers, were not on the ice Saturday morning, they certainly were on the mind of Lightning coach Jon Cooper, who cautioned his team not to take Buffalo lightly.

"All we remember is that we played Buffalo once and we had to grind out the game in overtime to get two points," Cooper said. "One thing you can't do is look at the standings. Just look at last year because we were 28th, so Buffalo might be saying, ‘oh wow, we have to be careful not to look past Tampa.'

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Posted On Thursday, 10.24.2013 / 1:44 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks give Khabibulin start against Lightning

TAMPA -- It was almost 10 years ago that Nikolai Khabibulin led the Tampa Bay Lightning to a Stanley Cup, and since then the Chicago Blackhawks goaltender has played one game in Tampa against his former team. On Thursday he gets to play his second.

"We wanted to get Khabibulin a game on this road trip and I thought Tampa would be the right one," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "After all, he does have some history here."

He certainly does. Especially the last few moments of Game 7 of the 2004 Final, when he made a diving save on Calgary Flames defenseman Jordan Leopold to preserve the win and give the Lightning the Cup.

"I still think about that save," Khabibulin said, "but less and less as time goes by. Sometimes it pops up, kind of like, 'What if?'"

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Posted On Saturday, 10.19.2013 / 1:55 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Bruins' Soderberg could make season debut

TAMPA -- Carl Soderberg may make his season debut Saturday for the Boston Bruins when his team plays at the Tampa Bay Lightning. But then again, he may not.

Soderberg, recovering from an ankle injury, skated with the team Saturday morning but afterward was unsure if he would be in the lineup or not.

"I have no idea," he said.

His coach wasn't offering any answers either.

"I haven't told anybody yet if Soderberg is in the lineup," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "That's why the players don't know. I haven't made that decision yet."

Julien said he won't make that decision until shortly before the puck drops.

"It's a difficult decision as to who to take out," he said. "It's pretty obvious that it is not an easy decision but you better make those decisions come game time, right?"

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Quote of the Day

He seemed to thrive on his own and didn't really need any push from me. I certainly don't want to get in the way of the coaches. You see how that goes sometimes. I never really worried about it and just enjoyed the ride.

— David Ekblad on his son's [Aaron Ekblad] journey to the NHL, signing with the Florida Panthers