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Gagne, Kubina out for Game 2

by Brian Compton
WASHINGTON -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will have a different look on Sunday night.

Due to injuries suffered in Friday's 4-2 victory against the Washington Capitals, the Lightning will be forced to play without forward Simon Gagne and defenseman Pavel Kubina in Game 2 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal. They will be replaced by Blair Jones and Randy Jones, respectively.

Gagne, who has 7 points (2 goals, 5 assists) in eight games, went down 7:22 into Game 1 due to a hit from Caps defenseman Scott Hannan. Gagne's head struck the ice and nearly left on a stretcher before he managed to get up and skate off with the assistance of two trainers.

Kubina, 34, was injured late in the second period after being hit by forward Jason Chimera. Lightning coach Guy Boucher said there's a possibility Gagne or Kubina -- or both -- could be in the lineup when the series shifts to Tampa Bay for Game 3.

"Right now, my understanding from the doctors is it's day-to-day," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "There's a possibility maybe for one of them for Tuesday, maybe for both. It's really day-to-day."

Randy Jones hasn't played since March 7, as he missed the final 16 games of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs with an ankle injury. Boucher said he could have played late in the series against the Pens, but he didn't want to tinker with his lineup as the Bolts managed to win three straight and overcame a 3-1 series deficit.

"It has been a tough injury, kind of testing my patience with that kind of injury," Jones told reporters Sunday morning at Verizon Center. "I am anxious and if [Kubina] is not able to go, I'm definitely going to be ready. Guys are out there banging and crashing and have a lot of bumps and bruises and usually you don’t feel it until an hour after the game. I’ve got a good feeling that adrenaline will kick in and give me that extra boost as well."

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound defenseman has appeared in 26 career playoff games between Philadelphia and Los Angeles. In 2005, he helped the AHL's Philadelphia Phantoms win the Calder Cup, notching five assists in 18 games. In 61 regular-season contests, Jones had a goal and 12 assists for the Bolts.

"Something I was really trying to concentrate on coming into this season was consistency," Jones said. "I think sometimes some of the elite players, the reason they are elite players is not just skill level and work ethic -- they do it every game. It is a long season and you can have consistency and play at the top of your game all year that can benefit you and that is what I was trying to focus on this year."

Blair Jones, 23, spent the majority of the season with the AHL's Norfolk Admirals. In 56 games, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound center had 24 goals and 31 assists. He also went 1-2-3 in 18 games with Tampa Bay. Boucher is hoping the Lightning's fourth-round pick (No. 102) from 2005 will use his size to help counter the Caps' offensive attack.

"We're playing a very big team, they have some big bodies," Boucher said of the Caps. "Jones is a real physical guy he likes to battle. He's done a great job with us when he came up doing that. He's very reliable also defensively."

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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