Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said defenseman Jason Garrison is expected to miss Game 3 against Detroit on Tuesday, his ninth-straight game out of the lineup.
Garrison was checked hard into the boards by the Red Wings’ Justin Abdelkader early in the first period of the regular-season finale between the two teams on March 28 and has had to sit since with an upper-body injury.
“He’s probably out for tomorrow,” Cooper said at a post-practice press conference Monday ahead of the team’s flight for Detroit.
Garrison is the lone Lightning player out due to injury. He could make an appearance for Game 4 in Detroit, however.
“Who knows after (tomorrow),” Cooper said. “Now we’re getting into game-time decisions after that.”
Detroit’s Abdelkader has also yet to play in the First Round series versus Tampa Bay but will return for Game 3 according to Red Wings coach Mike Babcock. Abdelkader last played April 4 and has missed six consecutive games with a hand injury.
“It doesn’t change our approach at all,” Lightning forward Ryan Callahan said of Abdelkader’s return. “Coming into the series and as it continues, it was all about us and how we’re playing and what we’re doing. We have to continue with that.”
The Lightning finished with an 18-16-7 record on the road during the regular season, the 18 wins ranking 18th in National Hockey League.
Since the start of February, however, the Bolts were 7-5-4 away from Amalie Arena, including wins in San Jose, where the Lightning hadn’t won since 2003, Anaheim and Montreal.
“I thought we’ve done that at the end of the season where we were playing a lot better on the road and more consistent on the road,” Callahan said. “Anytime you have confidence going on the road, I think it’s an important thing. We’re not second guessing ourselves on the road at all.”
The Lightning went 1-for-2 in Detroit during the regular season, winning 4-3 in a shootout in their first visit to Joe Louis Arena (November 9) but falling 4-0 on March 28.
“We’ve won in some pretty hectic buildings against some very good teams, so I think…we should be ok on the road,” Cooper said. “…We’ve won in tough buildings, and that has proven to us we can win anywhere.”
CUP OF JOE
Cooper said Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena is a unique building to play in because of its history, and the arena’s lower roof makes it pretty loud inside.
“It also makes it a lot of fun to play in there,”
Cooper also said Joe Louis has “lively boards” that make caroms unpredictable.
“That’s something you have to watch for, any shot that goes wide has got a really, really good chance of coming back in the slot, way different than any other arena we’ve played in,” Cooper said.
Added Brian Boyle: “(Funny bounces) seem to happen there quite a bit.”
Cooper said the Lightning’s approach to a road game in Joe Louis will remain the same as it is for any of the other buildings in the league.
“It’s the road team, road colors, fans are yelling at you, all the same things that happened in the 29 buildings when you’re on the road, it’s going to happen in Detroit, probably at a higher level because it’s the playoffs,” Cooper said.