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Lightning's Filppula to miss game against Maple Leafs

Cooper: Forward may be out 'longer than day-to-day;' Kucherov OK

by Mike Brophy / Correspondent

LIGHTNING (40-24-5) at MAPLE LEAFS (23-34-11)

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET; SUN, TSN4, NHL.TV

TORONTO -- Forward Valtteri Filppula won't be in the lineup when the Tampa Bay Lightning face the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday.

Filppula and forward Nikita Kucherov both sustained upper-body injuries in the Lightning's 4-0 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday; Kucherov will play against the Maple Leafs, but Filppula will not.

"He's out and I'm not sure how long it is going to be," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said of Filppula. "It may be longer than day-to-day. That's the concerning thing."

Filppula could miss the remaining three games of the Lightning's four-game road trip, Cooper said. The Lightning are 19-13-2 away from home this season, including 7-1-0 in its past eight road games.

"We have dug our heels in when we have gone on the road," Cooper said. "Last year's team was up and down on the road and this year's team seems to have embraced the challenge. If it wasn't for our road record (19-13-2), I don't know where we'd be in the standings. This is a big road trip, because once we get through it we play six in a row at home and we want to put ourselves in a position to get into the big dance.

"There's no question the players play differently on the road. Naturally you don't get the last change, but sometimes that works in your favor. You're not as worried about having to line match or do different things that can affect the game. The guys get into a little bit more of a flow. Also, we have a little bit of trying to impress the fans at home. So we have a propensity to make an extra move or do something that is a little too cute [at home] rather than the high-percentage, safer play."

Jonathan Bernier will make his second consecutive start in goal for the Maple Leafs. His last appearance was in a 1-0 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. Bernier is 8-18-3 this season.

"All year, I've been trying to have a good year and play well, but obviously it has been a real up-and-down season for me," Bernier said. "I'm doing it for me. I want to finish strong no matter what our situation is as a team. We have a lot of young guys on the team now and I want to be a leader in the room.

"I'm going day by day and game by game. That's the way to approach it. I think everyone is playing in the moment, but we are also thinking about next year and how things are going to be."

Toronto coach Mike Babcock believes Bernier has a good opportunity to finish strong.

"I think it's important," Babcock said. "The guys did a real good job for Bernie [on Sunday] and in the end he made some good saves for us. He also made a real good save in the first period. It has to make him feel good."

The Maple Leafs have won two of their past three games and are beginning a season-high six-game homestand over the next 12 days.

Neither the Lightning nor the Maple Leafs skated on Monday following their shutout victories on Sunday. The Lightning have defeated the Maple Leafs three times this season, outscoring them by a combined 8-5.

Here are the projected lineups:


Alex Killorn  - Steven Stamkos  - Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat  - Tyler Johnson  - Vladislav Namestnikov

J.T. BrownBrian Boyle - Ryan Callahan

Mike Blunden - Jonathan Marchessault - Erik Condra

Victor Hedman  - Anton Stralman

Andrej Sustr  - Jason Garrison

Nikita Nesterov  - Braydon Coburn

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Ben Bishop

Injured: Valtteri Filppula (upper body)

Scratched: Matthew Carle

Nikita Soshnikov  - Nazem Kadri  - Leo Komarov
PA Parenteau - William Nylander  - Zach Hyman
Colin Greening  - Brooks Laich  - Peter Holland
Milan Michalek  - Ben Smith  - Michael Grabner

Morgan Rielly  - Martin Marincin
Jake Gardiner  - Connor Carrick
Rinat Valiev  - Frank Corrado

Jonathan Bernier

Garret Sparks

Injured: Stephane Robidas  (lower body), James van Riemsdyk  (broken foot), Joffrey Lupul  (sports hernia surgery), Bryon Froese (lower body), Matt Hunwick  (lower body), Tyler Bozak (upper body)
Scratched: Brad Boyes Viktor Loov

Status report: There is a chance Cooper could dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen, but that will be a game-time decision.

Who's hot: Stamkos had two goals and an assist against Columbus after being held without a point in four consecutive games. … Johnson has three goals and eight points in his past seven games. … Vasilevskiy has three wins against Toronto this season.

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