SUNRISE — The up-and-down rookie campaign for D Mark Barberio went back on the upswing Monday.
With D Eric Brewer out of the lineup with an upper-body injury, Barberio returned to the lineup after sitting out the previous two games as a healthy scratch.
“What we talk about with Mark is watch and learn and digest,’’ Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “He’s still a rookie in this league in one of the tougher positions to play.
“So, when you watch upstairs a little bit, you know how fast the game is, but you can look at situations and say that maybe this will work a little bit better, or this would work, or realize there is more time in this area. So, you just hope he’s digesting all that when he’s upstairs.’’
Barberio sat out 10 of the first 12 games of the season, appeared in seven of the next 10, then played in 10 consecutive games before sitting out three of the next five. It’s all part of the process for a 23-year-old getting his first NHL experience. In the 20 games he has played Barberio has a pair of assists and is plus-5.
Sitting out games has been a learning experience just as much as playing.
“When you sit out you get to watch the game from a different standpoint and a different view, and you get to see the game differently,’’ Barberio said. “You get to see how much time you have in certain situations, which is good to get a different perspective, but of course you always want to be playing.’’
Brewer out, Salo leaves
Brewer left Saturday’s game with an undisclosed upper-body injury and did not return. He went for tests on Sunday, though when asked about it on Monday Cooper did not offer any details as to the nature of the injury or the time Brewer will miss.
“It’s not long term, and hopefully (Monday) is the only game he will miss,’’ Cooper said.
With Brewer out of the lineup, Victor Hedman paired with Andrej Sustr, Sami Salo worked with Barberio and Radko Gudas and Matt Carle remained together. J-P Cote will dress as the seventh defenseman.
“(Brewer) is a top-pairing (defenseman) for us, plays those hard minutes on the (penalty kill) and is a physical guy back there, so we definitely miss that,’’ Cooper said. “He has size and bite, but that’s why we have a little bit of depth.’’
With Brewer already out of the lineup, Tampa Bay lost Salo to an undisclosed upper-body injury sustained in the first period.
Salo played 5 minutes, 19 seconds in the first and did not return.
RW Marty St. Louis moved into 90th place on the all-time scoring list, moving past Hall of Fame D Chris Chelios, who finished his career with 948 points. Next on the list for St. Louis to climb past is former Tampa Bay head coach Rick Tocchet, who is 89th with 952 career points.
Much has been made of the Lightning’s woeful power play in the past two months, but one area in which Cooper wants to see improvement is the faceoff circle.
On Saturday, Tampa Bay won just five of 13 faceoffs (38 percent) while on the power play. The team was below 40 percent on power play faceoffs in four of the past five games.
“It was atrocious (on Saturday),’’ Cooper said. “The problem is our centers are just losing them clean. And it’s a little frustrating when the power play is already struggling to begin with. And it makes that much worse when you have to go 200 feet every single time.
“So it’s almost like they should just throw the puck down, give us those extra 10 or 12 seconds and we’ll just start in our own end. But all joking aside, we have to be better at that. It’s been addressed. ... You are given a break starting the power play with a faceoff in the offensive zone, so if you don’t start with the puck, you are just hurting yourself.’’
Nuts and Bolts
RW Richard Panik and LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie were scratched. ... C Valtteri Filppula extended his scoring streak to a season-long five games. ... Tampa Bay has scored a power play goal in three consecutive games for the first time since Oct. 26-29.