Lightning captain Steven Stamkos had vascular surgery this afternoon at Tampa General Hospital. The two-hour procedure was a success, according to the surgeon, Dr. Karl Illig.
“Everything went as expected for Steven today,” Dr. Illig said in a team release. “We plan to re-evaluate him in about two weeks and we should know more about his prognosis at that time.”
The timeline for Stamkos is 1-3 months. That makes a return to the playoffs a possibility, assuming the Lightning can make a run.
But the defending Eastern Conference champs will be in tough to do that without their captain, not to mention defenseman Anton Stralman, who’s out indefinitely with a fractured leg.
The Lightning will clinch a playoff berth tonight if they get at least one point against the Islanders.
Pavel Datsyuk can’t — or won’t — say what his plans are for next season.
In the wake of Saturday’s report that the Red Wings star was entertaining a return to Russia, Datsyuk was noncommittal with reporters today.
“I have one more year on contract, we have three games left in season. That is more focus for me now,” Datsyuk said, per MLive.
“I’m not looking at next year.”
The 37-year-old is signed through next season, though — for a $7.5 million cap hit that would remain on the books were he to retire.
Datsyuk’s agent provided a similarly noncommittal comment yesterday.
Detroit has three games remaining in its regular season, with a lengthy playoff streak on the line. The Wings host the Flyers Wednesday, play in Boston Thursday and finish their schedule Saturday at the Rangers. They’re currently one point up on the Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division. The B’s also have three games left.
The last time Detroit missed the playoffs was the 1989-90 season.
“Our focus right now are these three games starting on Wednesday,” said captain Henrik Zetterberg. “That’s what Pavel is focused on, that’s what we’re focused on and whatever happens after, we focus on after.”
Thomas Greiss will be back in goal for the New York Islanders tonight at home to Tampa Bay.
Greiss got Saturday’s game off, as it was Jean-Francois Berube between the pipes for the 5-0 loss to Pittsburgh. Berube then missed practiced yesterday. The Isles then announced this morning that Berube was day-to-day with a lower-body injury and that Christopher Gibson had been recalled on emergency loan from AHL Bridgeport.
With Jaroslav Halak out long-term with his own lower-body injury, Greiss is the best bet to be the Isles’ starter when the playoffs begin next week. The 30-year-old has enjoyed an excellent season overall (21-11-4, .924 SV%), but his numbers have been slipping of late (.909 SV% in March).
“Thomas has been in some big games before,” Isles coach Jack Capuano told reporters recently. “I know what he’s capable of doing. Obviously, it’s unfortunate that Jaro got hurt but (Greiss) loves the opportunity that he’s in.”
There’s still a slim chance that the Isles fail to even qualify for the playoffs. They have five games remaining in the regular season, four of them against opponents currently in a playoff spot, the other against Buffalo.
Ben Bishop will be in goal for the Lightning.
— Mike Smith for the Coyotes in St. Louis. Brian Elliott for the Blues.
— Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers in Columbus. Joonas Korpisalo for the Blue Jackets.
— Al Montoya for the Panthers in Toronto. Jonathan Bernier for the Maple Leafs.
— No starters have been announced for tonight’s Canucks-Kings game in Vancouver.
Related: Capuano calls out Strome, Nelson and Bailey
More injuries for the St. Louis Blues — the club announced today that forward David Backes and goalie Jake Allen will miss the remainder of the regular season with lower-body injuries, and that both will be reevaluated prior to the playoffs.
The news about Allen would seem to ensure that Brian Elliott will be the Blues’ starting goalie for the first game of the playoffs. That is, assuming Elliott can stay healthy the rest of the way — not a given the way things have gone for the Blues this season.
As for Backes, here’s what the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had to say:
Backes was one of two players to have played in every game this season for the Blues (Troy Brouwer was the other), though he had an upper-body injury in January during which he played in games but never practiced. Backes is second on the club with 21 goals and fourth with 45 points overall. Backes had a goal and an assist on Sunday night against Colorado and was on the ice when the Blues clinched the game with an empty net goal with just under 3 minutes to play. He had 16:54 of ice time against Colorado and was credited with two blocked shots.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is expected to address the media later today. The team is also dealing with injuries to Robby Fabbri, Jay Bouwmeester and Steve Ott.
The Flyers announced today that defenseman Andrew MacDonald will miss Wednesday’s big game in Detroit with an upper-body injury.
MacDonald is considered day-to-day after getting knocked out of Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh on a hit by the Penguins’ Tom Kunhackl.
It’s expected that Evgeny Medvedev will take MacDonald’s spot in the lineup against the Red Wings. Medvedev hasn’t played since March 12, more than three weeks ago.
The Flyers have four games left in the regular season, all in a five-day span — at Detroit Wednesday, home to Toronto Thursday, home to Pittsburgh Saturday, and at the Islanders Sunday.
According to Sports Club Stats, they have a 78.7 percent chance of making the playoffs.