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Lightning add Gudas for extra physicality on defense

by Alain Poupart

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Defenseman Radko Gudas, called up by the Tampa Bay Lightning from Syracuse of the American Hockey League on Monday, will make his NHL debut Tuesday when the Lightning visit the Florida Panthers.

Lightning coach Guy Boucher said he was hoping Gudas would bring a physical presence to the Tampa Bay lineup -- he's fourth in the AHL with 207 penalty minutes, along with leading the league with a plus-32 rating.

"He's got a major upside in terms of his physicality," Boucher said. "He's one of those guys that will be compared to [former New York Islanders defenseman Darius] Kasparaitis, if you remember him. He's a major menace and threat on the ice. He hits guys extremely hard at moments they don't expect. He's a warrior. What's good, too, is that the last two years he's made his game a little calmer in the sense that he chooses those moments now a lot better than he used to."

Boucher said Tuesday he was leaning toward using seven defensemen and 11 forwards Tuesday, although he added he could change his mind during pregame warmups. He said he wanted to give himself flexibility in terms of defense pairings and Gudas' ice time.

Defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron will be back in the lineup for Tampa Bay after being a healthy scratch the past four games, and Boucher said defenseman Brian Lee would sit.

Anders Lindback will start in goal, with Mathieu Garon the backup. Garon had missed the previous three games with a lower-body injury. Cedrick Desjardins, who started Saturday, was return to the AHL on Monday.

The Panthers will be going with the same lineup as the one that took the ice Sunday in a 5-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. That includes Jacob Markstrom in goal for a fifth straight game. Markstrom will be looking for a better start than he's had recently -- he's allowed at least one goal in the first 2:35 of each of the previous three games.

Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said forward Scottie Upshall, who skated before the Panthers' morning practice Tuesday, still needed a little more time and was questionable for a road game against the Boston Bruins on Thursday.

Here are the projected lineups for Tuesday’s game:


Alexander Killorn - Steven Stamkos - Martin St. Louis

Cory Conacher - Vincent Lecavalier - Teddy Purcell

Ryan Malone - Nate Thompson - B.J. Crombeen

Pierre-Cedric Labrie - Tom Pyatt

Victor Hedman - Sami Salo

Matt Carle - Radko Gudas

Eric Brewer - Keith Aulie

Marc-Andre Bergeron

Anders Lindback

Mathieu Garon

Scratched: Brian Lee, Ondrej Palat, Adam Hall

Injured: Benoit Pouliot (upper body)


Jonathan Huberdeau - Drew Shore - Peter Mueller

Tomas Fleischmann - Marcel Goc - Kris Versteeg

Tomas Kopecky - Shawn Matthias - Jack Skille

George Parros - Jerred Smithson - Mike Santorelli

Brian Campbell - Erik Gudbranson

Filip Kuba - Tyson Strachan

Colby Robak - Nolan Yonkman

Jacob Markstrom

Scott Clemmensen

Scratched: Alex Kovalev

Injured: Ed Jovanovski (lower body), Mike Weaver (lower body), Dmitry Kulikov (upper body), Scottie Upshall (lower body), Stephen Weiss (wrist), Jose Theodore (groin), Michael Caruso (upper body)

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