The injuries continue to pile up for a Tampa Bay Lightning squad that has gotten through the season, at least up until this point, largely unscathed.
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will not play tonight in Columbus as the Bolts look to extend their win streak to seven games. Following Tampa Bay's morning skate at Nationwide Arena Monday, the team announced Stamkos would be out with a lower-body injury. He's listed as day-to-day.
Stamkos joins Ryan McDonagh and Jan Rutta on the Lightning's injured list. Rutta was dinged up in Tuesday's win over Vegas and is week-to-week with a lower-body injury. McDonagh blocked a shot in the second period of Tampa Bay's 4-2 victory versus Pittsburgh Thursday and didn't return. He's also in the week-to-week category with a lower-body injury.
The latest blow to the Lightning necessitated the recall of Mathieu Joseph from the AHL Syracuse Crunch. Joseph participated in the Bolts' morning skate Monday and skated on a line with Pat Maroon and Cedric Paquette. Joseph has four goals and seven points in 34 games with Tampa Bay this season, his last appearance with the Bolts coming December 29 against Detroit.
Stamkos has been one of the hottest skaters in the National Hockey League over the last couple months. He exited Saturday's home victory over the New York Islanders with his team-leading 26th goal of the season, scoring an empty-netter with 1:02 remaining to seal the victory and extend his point streak to 10 games (9-6-15), tied for the third longest of his career. Since December 1, Stamkos ranks tied for second in the NHL for scoring along with teammate Nikita Kucherov, only one point behind Artemi Panarin from the Rangers.
Stamkos is two games from playing in his 800th career NHL game, but, for now at least, it appears that milestone will be put on hold.