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Lightning's Hedman expected to play against Bruins

Tampa Bay defenseman 'good to go' after apparent hand injury

by Matt Kalman / NHL.com Correspondant

LIGHTNING (35-22-4) at BRUINS (34-22-6)

TV: 6:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports

BOSTON - Defenseman Victor Hedman is expected to be in the Tampa Bay Lightning's lineup against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Sunday.

Hedman left the Lightning's 4-0 win against the New Jersey Devils during the third period on Friday and did not return because of an apparent hand or wrist injury.

Hedman, who has six goals and 30 assists in 60 games this season, said he's 100 percent healthy.

"I couldn't finish the game but obviously it feels way better now and I'm good to go for tonight," he said. "So what happened wasn't anything too serious. I'm very excited about going in for tonight."

The Lightning defense during their five-game winning streak has improved. After allowing five goals in the first game of the streak, they've allowed five goals in four games.

"When we play the right way, we have the skill up front to score goals and if everyone is sacrificing themselves and playing well defensively, good things are going to happen for us," Hedman said. "I think the last game against New Jersey was a typical example of that. We know we have two goalies that can bail us out when we need them too. Just that effort we need all the way in now and we've got to keep playing the same way."

The Lightning and Bruins are tied for second place in the Atlantic Division with 74 points each, with Tampa Bay holding one game in hand. The Bruins have won two in a row but allowed 82 shots on goal. Goaltender Tuukka Rask has made 80 saves.

Although he's not disappointed in the Bruins' defensive play, coach Claude Julien said there's still room for improvement.

"You have teams that are going to shoot it from everywhere because they want to create rebounds, they want to create scoring chances and their philosophy is to shoot from everywhere," Julien said. "I'm not saying that, you know, we can't be better than that - I think we can. And last game I talked about, defensively, our forecheck wasn't very good and teams are breaking out with very little pressure. They came up the ice with some speed and when you get in that kind of situation, the result is some shots against and stuff like that. So we can be better there, but at the same time we're really looking at the chances against versus the amount of shots."

Here are the projected lineups:

LIGHTNING

Alex Killorn - Steven Stamkos - Ryan Callahan  

Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov  

J.T. Brown - Valtteri Filppula - Cedric Paquette  

Jonathan Marchessault - Vladislav Namestnikov - Brian Boyle  

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman  

Braydon Coburn - Andrej Sustr  

Matthew Carle - Nikita Nesterov  

Ben Bishop  

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Injured: Jason Garrison (lower body), Joel Vermin (hand) 

Scratched: Matt Taormina, Erik Condra

BRUINS

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Brett Connolly

Loui Eriksson - David Krejci - David Pastrnak

Matt Beleskey - Ryan Spooner - Jimmy Hayes

Max Talbot - Joonas Kemppainen - Landon Ferraro

Zdeno Chara - Adam McQuaid

Torey Krug - Dennis Seidenberg

Joe Morrow - Kevan Miller

Tuukka Rask

Jonas Gustavsson

Injured: Chris Kelly (broken femur)

Scratched: Zach Trotman

Status report: Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said he's cautiously optimistic Garrison will return in one of the last two games of the four-game road trip. "He's progressing really well," Cooper said. "Much better than we anticipated but there's a guy that keeps himself in great shot and more often than not, those guys can get back quicker." Garrison has been out since Feb. 8.

Who's hot: Stamkos' five-game goal streak is the longest active goal streak in the NHL. ... Beleskey has five goals in his past four games, including two two-goal games

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