While the Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t show any signs of real trouble in Game 1 against Boston, they are playing without a relatively important part of their defense. Pavel Kubina has been out of action since getting injured in Game 1 against Washington. Kubina caught an elbow from Jason Chimera in the head in that game and hasn’t returned to action since then.
If you’re hoping his prognosis will get a bit clearer with the Lightning getting deeper into the playoffs, you should probably stop holding your breath.
Lightning Strikes’ Damian Cristodero gets the update from Lightning coach Guy Boucher as to what’s going on with Kubina and just how involved he is with the team this deep into the playoffs.
Suffice to say, things don’t look all that good right now.
“He’s not with us. He’s not even here, so the update is not very good,” Boucher said. “Every day there seems to be a little progression, it kind of slips back a bit.”
“We had to adapt because he was doing very well for us,” Boucher said of Kubina who had two goals, three points and was plus-2 in eight games while averaging 15:17 of ice time.
The unfortunate part is that Kubina’s outlook isn’t very promising. Luckily for the Lightning they’ve been getting other-worldly play out of deadline acquisition Eric Brewer. The former Blues captain has jumped into the mix for Tampa Bay and been a force all around dominating defensively as well as contributing on the power play as well.
Brewer leads the playoffs with 43 blocked shots as well as adding a goal and five assists through the team’s 12 playoff games. Doing that kind of work while averaging 26:04 of ice time per game is outstanding work. The Lightning have been rolling with a seven man defensive rotation for a good part of the playoffs but still getting big production out of their main guys like Brewer, Mattias Ohlund, Victor Hedman, and Brett Clark.
Getting Kubina back into that mix would certainly help them out, but for now, they’re getting outstanding team play all around on the blue line. If Brewer and the rest of the defensemen can hold it together and not give the Bruins the room and chances they’re looking for, Kubina can rest up all he needs to without the pressure of feeling like he has to get back.