Tampa Bay d-man Matt Carle will miss his first game of the postseason tonight when the Bolts host the Rangers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final at Amalie Arena.
Carle, shook up following a collision with Derek Stepan during Game 3 — a hit that forced Carle from the game — was officially ruled out this morning by head coach Jon Cooper, who wouldn’t reveal what he’d do in terms of a lineup replacement.
From today’s media availability:
Q. So maybe get a guy like [Mark] Barberio in there?
COACH COOPER: Maybe. Our full 21 guys are playing, so you have to show up tonight to see which guy is out. But he’s one of the guys I told might be in.
Q. Either way, if you do go 7 [defensemen], you have a guy that hasn’t played for a while in the lineup. What kind of things go into that?
COACH COOPER: This is where you find out if guys are pros or not. It’s a game we all love to play, but it’s also in some respects, it’s your job. These guys are expected to, when your name is called, to come in and do the best you can and keep yourself in shape. Our guys and our staff have done a great job with players that haven’t been in the starting line-up, but potentially could come in. You look at everybody from, you know, if it is Barberio to [Jonathan] Drouin, [Vladislav] Namestnikov, [Jonathan] Marchessault, go down the list.
Carle, 30, was averaging 16:35 TOI per night prior to getting hurt, with two points and a minus-6 rating.