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Preview: Lightning at Sharks

Victor Hedman to miss third straight game for Tampa Bay; San Jose could be without Logan Couture

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com Correspondent

LIGHTNING (21-20-5) at SHARKS (27-16-2)

10:30 p.m. ET; SN, SN1, SUN, CSN-CA, NHL.TV

 

Lightning team scope

Defenseman Victor Hedman will miss his third straight game for the Tampa Bay Lightning with an illness. "Game by game," coach John Cooper said. "He's out. I just hear what the trainers tell me. It's unfortunate." Andrei Vasilevskiy was the first goaltender off the ice at the morning skate and is expected to start against the San Jose Sharks in place of Ben Bishop, who started three of the past four games after missing nine with a lower-body injury. Vasilevskiy has lost five straight starts, allowing 22 goals in that stretch. The Lightning opened their six-game road trip with a 2-1 victory against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday before a 2-1 overtime loss against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. "We're clearly in desperation mode," Cooper said. "It's shown in our play a little bit." Forward Joel Vermin skated on a line with Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn and is expected to replace Erik Condra in the lineup. Vermin was a healthy scratch the past two games after being called up from Syracuse of the American Hockey League on Sunday for the second time this season. He has two assists in eight games with a plus-3 rating. "I'm maybe not as nervous anymore as I used to be, so that helps for sure," Vermin said. "It's like every game you learn something new. I'm trying not to think too much and play my game. There's a reason why I got called up."

 

Sharks team scope

The Sharks, coming off a 3-2 victory against the Kings on Wednesday, will try to extend their winning streak to three games. San Jose was without forwards Logan Couture (illness), Joonas Donskoi (upper body) and Tomas Hertl (knee), and coach Peter DeBoer said he was proud of how hard the Sharks competed. "They play a physical game," DeBoer said of the Kings. "We stood in there and I thought played a real complete game." The Sharks did not have a morning skate; Couture and Donskoi skated on their own and will take warmups. Jones made 22 saves against the Kings to earn his 23rd win, but backup Aaron Dell will make his seventh start of the season. In the previous five sets of back-to-back games, Dell split starts with Jones three times.

 

Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat -- Vladislav Namestnikov -- Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn -- Tyler Johnson -- Joel Vermin

Brian Boyle -- Valtteri Filppula -- Jonathan Drouin

Michael Bournival -- Cedric Paquette -- Gabriel Dumont

Nikita Nesterov -- Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison -- Andrej Sustr

Braydon Coburn -- Luke Witkowski

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Ben Bishop

Scratched: Jake Dotchin, Erik Condra

Injured: Steven Stamkos (knee), Brayden Point (upper body), J.T. Brown (upper body), Ryan Callahan (lower body), Victor Hedman (illness)

 

Sharks projected lineup

Patrick Marleau -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski

Kevin Labanc -- Logan Couture -- Mikkel Boedker

Timo Meier -- Chris Tierney -- Joel Ward

Micheal Haley -- Tommy Wingels -- Melker Karlsson

Paul Martin -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon -- David Schlemko

Aaron Dell

Martin Jones

Scratched: Tim Heed, Ryan Carpenter, Barclay Goodrow

Injured: Joonas Donskoi (upper body),Tomas Hertl (knee), Dylan DeMelo (wrist)

 

Status report

If Couture can't play, the Sharks likely will use the same lines they did against the Kings. Marleau moved from left wing on the first line to center on the second and Karlsson jumped from the fourth line to the first. Carpenter centered the fourth line. ... Brown took part in the morning skate but wore a red no-contact jersey. ... Dotchin, who was recalled from Syracuse on Tuesday, was a healthy scratch against Los Angeles, but he did not stay on the ice late for extra work and may play.

 

Who's hot

Filppula has a season-high five-game point streak (one goal, four assists). ... Drouin has 10 goals and 12 assists in his past 21 games. ... Burns has 11 points in his past seven games (four goals, seven assists). ... Pavelski has 14 points in his past 14 games (six goals, either assists). ... Ward has two goals and five assists in his past seven games.

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