Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown practiced Friday and didn’t appear limited by the upper-body injury that kept him out of Thursday’s 4-2 victory over Toronto.
He could return to the lineup tomorrow when the Bolts complete a three-game homestand versus the Dallas Stars.
With three days off between Saturday’s game and Tampa Bay’s upcoming road trip, it might be beneficial to give the 24-year-old winger another day of rest to recover.
“We want (Brown) in the lineup. He’s a big part of our team,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “But if he’s not 100 percent, you don’t want to risk further injury too. We’ll reevaluate tomorrow. (He) wants to get in as well, but if the body’s not letting you, the body’s not letting you.”
Brown said he has a few limitations but is progressing at a reasonable pace.
“Still have to go in and talk to the training staff and see how things are going as far as the progress, but just from my standpoint, I think it’s going well,” he said.
Brown suffered the injury Tuesday in the shutout of Buffalo but can’t pinpoint what triggered it.
“So many things happen throughout the game, I’m not really sure when it exactly happened,” he said.
SOONER THAN LATER FOR CARLE
Lightning defenseman Matt Carle had his third-straight day of practice in a normal jersey and could be ready to return to the lineup as early as next week Cooper said.
When asked if Carle might play on one of the Bolts’ upcoming road games Tuesday versus Montreal or Thursday against Boston, Cooper wouldn’t rule out the possibility.
“It would be early, but we’re starting to, he hasn’t really banged around a whole bunch yet. That’s probably the next step,” Cooper said. “But I wouldn’t say that’s out of the question.”
After some opening-game jitters Tuesday in his first appearance with the Lightning, newly-acquired defenseman Braydon Coburn played a solid game against Toronto according to Cooper.
“I thought he moved pucks. He defended well. He was up in the play. He was good,” Cooper said. “He’s made our team better. That’s what you want in a trade. Our back end got better.”
Coburn played 16 minutes and 19 seconds, played over three minutes on the Bolts’ penalty kill, had a team-high six blocked shots and was a plus-two.
“It’s clear after two games he’s another big body that can skate, that can defend and we needed that depth back there,” Cooper said. “He’s stepped in and done very well for us.”