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Lightning scramble to field healthy lineup

by Lonnie Herman

TAMPA -- With injuries wreaking havoc with their regular lineup, the Tampa Bay Lightning are dodging and weaving to put skaters on the ice against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The Lightning lost defensemen Victor Hedman to a lower-body injury and Keith Aulie with a broken hand during a win against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. On the plus side, defensemen Radko Gudas and Eric Brewer, who have sat out five and two games respectively, appear ready to return.

"They should be good," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.

Tampa Bay will start Anders Lindback in goal Saturday and will field a lineup of 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Notably missing will be forward Richard Panik. With one goal and nine assists in 26 games, Panik will be scratched for the second consecutive game.

"He's just not playing the way we want him to play," Cooper said. "He's probably getting critiqued a little harder because I've been his coach for the last three years. I know what he is capable of and I know what he is doing and not doing. Unfortunately, these are tough lessons. What lineups give you the best chance to win the game, and right now this is the lineup.

"He's a big part of our team; he's going to be a big part of our team but right now he has to beat someone out and he hasn't yet."

The Jets are coming off a 5-2 loss Thursday to the Florida Panthers and can end their season-long six-game road trip on a positive note. With consistency a continuing issue for Winnipeg, coach Claude Noel said he doesn't view this game as a response to a loss.

"Response? I just want us to play consistent," Noel said. "It's been an ongoing battle, We just need to play hard. They [Tampa Bay] play hard, they play with good discipline and they are driven by Martin St. Louis. They play to win. We need to do the same on a nightly basis. We've seen the pattern, too much for my liking, that we have to lose one to get motivated for the next one. Come on."

Al Montoya will get his eighth start of the season in net for the Jets.

Here are the projected lineups for the Jets and Lightning:


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler

Chris Thorburn - Olli Jokinen - Devin Setoguchi

Michael Frolik - Mark Scheifele - Matt Halischuk

James Wright - John Albert - Anthony Peluso

Tobias Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien

Keaton Ellerby - Mark Stuart

Grant Clitsome - Jacob Trouba

Al Montoya

Ondrej Pavelec

Scratched: Adam Pardy, Eric Tangradi

Injured: Evander Kane (lower body), Zach Bogosian (lower body), Jim Slater (lower body), Paul Postma (lower body)


Nikita KucherovValtteri FilppulaAlex Killorn

Martin St. LouisTyler JohnsonOndrej Palat

Teddy PurcellNate ThompsonJ.T. Brown

Dana TyrellB.J. Crombeen

Mark BarberioMatthew Carle

Eric Brewer- Radko Gudas

Sami SaloAndrej Sustr

Matt Taormina

Anders Lindback

Ben Bishop

Scratched: Richard Panik

Injured: Ryan Malone (lower body), Pierre-Cedric Labrie (upper body), Victor Hedman (lower body), Steven Stamkos (broken tibia), Keith Aulie (fractured hand), Tom Pyatt (broken collar bone)

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