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Lightning's Coburn to play against Red Wings

by Corey Long / NHL.com

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn will return to the lineup for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Detroit Red Wings at Amalie Arena on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN, TVA Sports 2, FS-D, FS-F).

Coburn, who was acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers in a trade March 2, missed the final 14 games of the regular season after sustaining a foot injury March 10. He began skating without a red jersey last week and was a full participant in practices leading to the start of this best-of-7 series.

"I'm excited and it's a great opportunity for me," Coburn said. "I want to keep it simple early on. I want to play to my strengths … move the puck and get my legs."

Coburn will be paired with Matthew Carle. The two are familiar with each other from their time together with the Flyers.

"We had a period where we were paired together for the better half of a season," Coburn said. "It's good that to have a partner that I'm familiar with, especially coming back on the ice."

Anton Stralman, one of the few Lightning defenseman to play all 82 regular-season games, said that his experiences playing against Coburn makes him happy they are on the same side.

"He's a strong guy and really tough to move, he plays physical and hard," Stralman said. "It's great to not have to go against his crosschecks for a change."

Defenseman Andrej Sustr and forward Alex Killorn also will be in the lineup Thursday. Killorn will play left wing on a line with Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan.

AT THE RINK: RED WINGS

"It's good to have most of the guys back and we're excited about [Thursday]," Stamkos said. "Once we get our first shift out everyone will settle down. This group stays pretty composed in most situations and I don't think much is going to change. We all know what to expect from each other and we know that Detroit is going to be a tough team in the playoffs. They have been that way for the past 20 years or so."

Here are the projected lineups:

RED WINGS

Darren Helm - Pavel Datsyuk - Henrik Zetterberg

Gustav Nyquist - Riley Sheahan - Tomas Tatar

Stephen Weiss - Joakim Andersson - Tomas Jurco

Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Landon Ferraro

Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson

Danny DeKeyser - Alexey Marchenko

Kyle Quincey - Marek Zidlicky

Petr Mrazek

Jimmy Howard

Scratched: Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl

Injured: Erik Cole (spinal contusion), Justin Abdelkader (hand)

LIGHTNING

Alex Killorn - Steven Stamkos - Ryan Callahan

Nikita Kucherov - Tyler Johnson - Ondrej Palat

Cedric Paquette - Valtteri Filppula - Vladislav Namestnikov

Brenden Morrow - Brian Boyle - J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman - Andrej Sustr

Matthew Carle - Braydon Coburn

Anton Stralman - Nikita Nesterov

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Jonathan Drouin

Injured: Jason Garrison (upper body)

Status Report: The Lightning had nearly full participation for their optional morning skate Thursday. … Garrison continues to be a full participant in practice but will not play Thursday and is day-to-day. … Lightning coach Jon Cooper on Drouin's healthy scratch: "He has to continue to be prepared so he's ready to go when we need him."

Who's Hot: Nesterov had points in the final three regular-season games. "He's starting to get a taste of success on the ice and he wants more of it," Cooper said. … Bishop had 36 saves in the 3-2 shootout win against the Boston Bruins last Saturday.

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