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Lightning's Stralman could return to lineup

Defenseman skated Monday, may play in Game 2 of conference final against Penguins

by Tom Gulitti @tomgulittinhl / Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman could return to the lineup for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Stralman, who hasn't played since March 25 because of a fractured left fibula, was on the ice for the optional morning skate Monday after practicing Sunday. 

He did not speak to the media Monday and coach Jon Cooper was unavailable for comment after practice.

Cooper had said Sunday that Stralman getting closer to a return.

"Stralman is definitely day-to-day now and that's great news because he is an extremely important player on our team," Cooper said. "So it's kind of going to be all [up] to [Stralman] here now, how he's feeling."

Stralman last spoke to the media following the morning skate prior to Game 1 on Friday. He didn't rule out playing in Game 2 but said then it was too early to tell.

He had 34 points in 73 games during the regular season and was second on the Lightning with an average ice time of 22:04 per game. 

Stralman's return would be a boost for Tampa Bay, especially with 21-year-old backup goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy expected to make his second career start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in place of the injured Ben Bishop.

Cooper said Sunday that Bishop, a 2016 Vezina Trophy finalist, was day-to-day with a lower-body injury sustained in the first period of Game 1. Bishop didn't skate Monday, and was seen working out off the ice with the training staff after saying he went on the ice briefly Sunday.

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