With just six games left in their regular season schedule, the Tampa Bay Lightning need reinforcements. They’ve called up forward Jonathan Marchessault and defenseman Luke Witkowski in response to injuries sustained by Cedric Paquette and Jason Garrison.
Marchessault, 24, went undrafted, but he’s established himself as a top forward at the AHL level. He recorded at least 56 points in each of his previous three campaigns going into 2014-15. This season he has 21 goals and 57 points in 60 contests, which puts him in a tie for fifth place in the AHL’s scoring race. While he’s had plenty of success in the minors, thus far he’s only played in three NHL games.
Witkowski, 24, was taken in the sixth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He finished the 2013-14 campaign with 204 penalty minutes in 76 AHL contests, which put him in 10th place in the league. He has eight points and 91 penalty minutes in 47 contests with the Syracuse Crunch in 2014-15. He’s also played in 10 contests with Tampa Bay this season and has logged an average of 14:44 minutes per game.
Paquette hurt his left leg when he crashed into the goal post during Saturday’s game while trying to prevent an empty net goal. He’s regarded as day-to-day, per the Tampa Bay Times.
Garrison has an upper-body injury after being smashed into the boards by Justin Abdelkader on Saturday. He was evaluated on Sunday and the Lightning are expected to learn more about his condition today.
Tampa Bay isn’t likely to finish worse than second in the Atlantic Division, but it would need to close a three-point gap to catch up to the Montreal Canadiens.