Cedric Paquette sat the last two games with an upper-body injury, but the Tampa Bay Lightning center practiced for the first time Saturday during a training session at Sharks Ice in San Jose.
Paquette didn’t wear a red, no-contact jersey and skated as a winger on a line with Valtteri Filppula (center) and Brett Connolly (right wing).
Asked if he felt any limitations during practice, Paquette said, “A little bit, but I think I’m good to go. It felt great on the ice.”
Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said he wasn’t sure whether Paquette would be available for Sunday’s game at San Jose. Paquette is listed as day-to-day.
“I won’t know that until tomorrow,” Cooper said.
Prior to his injury, Paquette had scored six goals in seven games and was named the NHL’s No. 2 Star of the Week on Feb. 2.
“Injuries are part of the game,” Paquette said. “Hopefully, I can go back to where I was on the ice.”
Lightning defenseman Matt Carle made his first public skating appearance at Saturday’s practice, entering the rink as the rest of his teammates finished to do some light skating.
Carle has missed 11 games after undergoing surgery on January 20 to repair torn adductor muscles in his lower abdomen.
But despite the return, Cooper said Carle will still need considerably more time before being ready to play in game.
“Don’t expect him this month, for sure,” Cooper said.
At the time of his procedure, Carle was expected to miss six to eight weeks. That timetable would have him back between March 3-17, which Cooper said he is on pace to hit.
WHO’S IN GOAL?
Cooper was non-committal whether Ben Bishop or Andrei Vasilevskiy would start in goal for the Lightning against San Jose.
“I guess you’ve got to show up for the game and see what happens,” Cooper said with a grin.
Bishop got the call on Thursday against St. Louis but was pulled following the second period after allowing five goals, although Cooper said at the time the decision to insert Andrei Vasilevskiy for the third period was more to give Bishop mercy after the veteran faced 34 shots.
“He faced more than a game worth of shots in two periods,” Cooper said.
Vasilevskiy stopped nine of nine shots in his one period against the Blues.