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Coburn, Sustr likely to play for Lightning in Game 1

by Corey Long /

BRANDON, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning continue to get healthy before Game 1 of their Eastern Conference First Round best-of-seven series against the Detroit Red Wings (7:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, TVA Sports, SN, FS-D, FS-F) on Thursday.

Defenseman Braydon Coburn has been skating without a red non-contact jersey for the past week-and-a-half and was joined Monday by defenseman Andrej Sustr, who had missed the last three weeks with a finger injury.

Lightning head coach Jon Cooper expects each to play Thursday.

"It looks promising for most of them," Cooper said after practice Wednesday. "I don't think everybody's playing, but we're close."

Coburn, who was acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers before the NHL Trade Deadline, has missed more than a month with a foot injury. He is excited to return and is ready to contribute in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"It's been tough sitting in the stands and watching so it's good to be back in there," Coburn said. "I'm ready to get back and I've been preparing for this and getting my body ready."

Coburn praised the team for continuing to win and play hard as the injuries racked up.

"It's a very confident group and they play with a lot of poise," Coburn said. "This is a good team and it's been a good team all year."

Entering the final weeks of the regular season, the Lightning were without four starting defenseman at one point, but Jason Garrison (upper body) appears the lone defenseman unlikely to play Thursday. Cooper said Garrison, who also skated without a red jersey Wednesday, is questionable.

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