Tampa Bay will have one of their top forwards back in the lineup tonight as Anthony Cirelli is expected to play against Dallas, relays Joe Smith of The Athletic (Twitter link). The 23-year-old has missed the last six games due to an upper-body injury and was off to a big start before it occurred, notching four goals and six assists in his first dozen games. With the Lightning carrying a minimum-sized roster, they won’t have to make a corresponding roster move to get him activated.
Meanwhile, despite leaving Thursday’s victory over Carolina early with his lower-body injury, the Lightning will also have defenseman Erik Cernak in their lineup. He’s logging more than 18 minutes per game on their back end so far this season and his availability means that they can hold Luke Schenn down on their taxi squad, extending his waiver exemption in the process.
More from the Central Division:
- It appears that Carolina’s wait to get their starting goalie back is almost over. GM Don Waddell told Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News and Observer (Twitter link) that the Hurricanes are targeting next Sunday’s game against Florida for Petr Mrazek to make his return from a thumb injury sustained late last month that required surgery. Carolina has actually done relatively well without Mrazek in the lineup, winning nine of 15 games since he was injured (including the game it occurred) but having their number one back in the fold will give them a nice boost as they look to work their way up the division.
- Florida will have defenseman Radko Gudas back in their lineup tonight versus Carolina, notes Jameson Olive of the Panthers’ team website (Twitter link). He was a late scratch on Thursday night due to an upper-body injury. Gudas is fifth on the team in ATOI by a defender, logging just over 17 minutes per game in his first season in Florida. Meanwhile, they’ll be without Gustav Forsling due to a lower-body issue. The early-season waiver claim has been held off the scoresheet in eight games so far this season.