TAMPA -- When the Tampa Bay Lightning take the ice Thursday against the Minnesota Wild, they might be missing one of their premier players, captain Martin St. Louis.
St. Louis was hit in the foot by a shot while killing a penalty during the Lightning's 5-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, and while tests have not shown any fracture, his status for the game is up in the air.
"Let's get this out of the way -- Marty is a game-time decision," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We will see what happens over the next few hours but he's an option to play. I don't want someone in there who may be apprehensive and not the Marty we are used to seeing. But we'll find out at game time."
Brett Connolly was recalled from the team's American Hockey League affiliate as a precaution and he skated this morning in St. Louis' spot alongside Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone.
"If they need me I'll be ready," Connolly said.
It would be hard to overestimate the value that St. Louis brings to the Lightning. The 38-year-old enters action Thursday ranked second in the League with 10 points and is riding a five-game point streak. In the win against the Kings on Tuesday he had two goals and an assist.
"I have a feeling that he's going to be playing [Thursday]," Stamkos said. "Marty is a warrior and he has proved that throughout his whole career. We have another great player here in Brett Connolly in case we need him. We'll see how it goes. You can't replace a guy like Marty but if he is out other guys will get an opportunity to step up."
Here are the projected lineups for each club
Ryan Malone - Steven Stamkos - Brett Connolly
Richard Panik - Valtteri Filppula - Alex Killorn
Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Teddy Purcell
B.J. Crombeen - Nate Thompson - Pierre-Cedric Labrie
Matthew Carle - Radko Gudas
Victor Hedman - Sami Salo
Eric Brewer - Andrej Sustr
Scratched: Keith Aulie, Mark Barberio
Injured: Tom Pyatt (collarbone), Martin St. Louis (foot)
Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Nino Niederreiter
Dany Heatley - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville
Matt Cooke - Kyle Brodziak - Justin Fontaine
Stephane Veilleux - Zenon Konopka - Torrey Mitchell
Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin
Clayton Stoner - Jared Spurgeon
Marco Scandella - Mathew Dumba
Scratched: Nate Prosser
Injured: Keith Ballard (head), Niklas Backstrom (knee), Charlie Coyle (knee), Mike Rupp (knee)