Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will likely miss his second straight game Tuesday with a lower-body injury as he did not take line rushes with the team at morning skate, Eduardo A. Encina of the Tampa Bay Times relays. It’s another significant injury blow for the Lightning, who remain without star goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and depth forward Tyler Motte with longer-term injuries.
The Bolts have dropped back-to-back games against key divisional opponents and have struggled to keep the puck out of their net, although their patchwork goaltending tandem of Jonas Johansson and Matt Tomkins isn’t entirely to blame. The team has controlled just 41.7% of scoring chances at five-on-five play thus far and has conceded 80 shots over its last two defeats at the hands of the Red Wings and Senators. Missing Stamkos, who has two goals and two assists through two games, makes it harder for the team to outscore their problems. He’s in the final season of an eight-year, $68MM extension signed in 2016 and is one of the best pending free agents available, notably without any extension conversations to date.
Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference this morning:
- Sabres winger Victor Olofsson will serve as a healthy scratch tonight against the Lightning, head coach Don Granato confirmed Tuesday morning. Tyson Jost, who’s served as a healthy scratch for their first two games of the season, will make his 2023-24 season debut. Olofsson, set to become a free agent next summer, was featured in trade talks this offseason. However, the team held onto him for scoring depth after youngster Jack Quinn sustained an Achilles injury that will keep him out until December. Olofsson is a skilled shooter who’s notched 20 goals in three out of the last four seasons, but his defensive impacts are poor, and his possession numbers are average at best, leading him to become viewed as a power-play specialist. He’s been held off the scoresheet through two contests this season and has a -2 rating, averaging 14:07 per game. 22-year-old Peyton Krebs is projected to fill Olofsson’s vacated spot in the top six, while Jost will slide in at fourth-line center to fill Krebs’ previous role.
- Islanders head coach Lane Lambert told reporters that defenseman Scott Mayfield is officially out for Tuesday’s contest against the Coyotes. The veteran shutdown man is day-to-day with a lower-body injury after blocking a shot late in last Saturday’s win against the Sabres and did not practice yesterday due to swelling in his leg. Lambert confirmed Samuel Bolduc would replace Mayfield in the lineup and make his season debut. The 2019 second-round pick skated in 17 contests with the Islanders last season, recording two goals and an assist.