While the Capitals are expected to have defenseman John Carlson in the lineup for Game 2, the Lightning won’t have two key pieces. Left wing Simon Gagne and defenseman Pavel Kubina were ruled out by coach Guy Boucher after both getting hurt Friday night in Game 1.
“They’re both not playing tonight, for sure,” Boucher said.
Defenseman Randy Jones and forward Blair Jones will step in.
Randy Jones hasn’t played since March 7 when he suffered a high ankle sprain at St. Pete Times Forum against the Caps. Boucher said he was ready to go late in the first-round series against the Penguins, but he didn’t want to make changes to the “winning lineup.” Jones is itching to play.
“It has been a tough injury, kind of testing my patience,” he said Sunday. “It is frustration with the injury and only the injury. Yeah, obviously it is a test of patience a little bit. Frustration level goes up a little high when you’ve been out this long. I’m just looking forward to the opportunity.”
Meanwhile, Blair Jones gets the nod in part because Dana Tyrell is unavailable after getting hurt in practice during the Pittsburgh series. But there’s more.
“We’re playing a very big team; they have some big bodies,” Boucher said of the Caps. “Jones is a real physical guy’ he likes to battle. He’s done a great job with us when he came up doing that. He’s very reliable, also, defensively.”
Boucher is hopeful either Gagne or Kubina – or maybe both – could return for Game 3 Tuesday or Game 4 Wednesday, both in Tampa.
Gagne, whose head hit the ice as a result of a clean Scott Hannan check Friday, told reporters at Verizon Center on Sunday that he never lost consciousness.
“I remember everything, I remember the hit,” he said, as quoted by the Tampa Tribune. “It looked a lot worse than people think. I felt good yesterday and I feel good today, too. And we’ll go day by day.”
Officially, Kubina and Gagne are both listed as “day-to-day.”