TAMPA — With the playoffs starting in less than a week, the microscope on any injury becomes magnified.
With G Ben Bishop already sidelined with an unspecified upper body injury to his left arm and out indefinitely, C Valtteri Filppula joined the list of key players out due to injury that also includes top four defenseman Sami Salo, who missed his second consecutive game with an undisclosed upper body injury.
The team officially listed Filppula out on a day-to-day basis with a lower body injury, presumably suffered during Thursday’s victory against Philadelphia. During a late Lightning power play, Filppula attempted a one-timer from the right circle but his stick broke on the attempted shot and Filppula appeared to be in discomfort as the stick fell to the ice. Filppula appeared to be heading back toward the bench on the play, but C Steven Stamkos scored a goal on the play with 5:46 left in the third period and Filppula instead skated to celebrate the goal. Filppula did take two additional shifts after the goal, including the final shift of the game.
There was no indication from head coach Jon Cooper in the morning following an optional skate as he deflected any questions regarding the lineup.
“Goaltending and player changes and lineup changes you’ll have to show up to the game to find out,’’ Cooper said. “I’m absolutely serious; still plenty of game-time decisions abound, so no questions on that.’’
During the first period Friday, D Victor Hedman left the game at the 6:31 mark with an undisclosed lower body injury and though his return was listed as questionable, Hedman did not return to the game.
Salo, meanwhile, took part in the morning skate wearing a regular jersey but said he was not quite ready, though he did not rule out playing in Sunday’s regular season finale at Washington.
“Maybe, we’ll see,’’ Salo said. “It’s day-by-day and we’ll evaluate it and see where we are at.”
In addition, RW Teddy Purcell sat out Friday’s game due to the flu.
On the horizon
Lightning 2012 first-round pick G Andrey Vasilevskiy ended his season with Salavat in the Kontinental Hockey League on Friday with a 1-0 overtime loss to Metallurg in Game 5 of the KHL semifinals after stopping 36 of 37 shots. Salavat lost the best-of-seven series 4-1, including back-to-back 1-0 losses in the final two games.
Though his season has ended, Vasilevskiy remains under contract with Salavat until April 30, when the final year of his deal expires. Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman would like to sign Vasilevskiy as soon as possible, but it can’t happen as long as the KHL contract remains in place. Should Vasilevskiy be released from the final weeks of his deal, he would be free to sign a contract with the Lightning.
“We will see what the future holds,’’ Yzerman said. “We would certainly like to talk to him and his agent about getting him signed.’’
On the way
Lightning C Cedric Paquette received a call-up from Syracuse of the American Hockey League on Friday and made his NHL debut against Columbus.
Paquette, a fourth-round draft pick in 2012, leads Syracuse with 20 goals in 70 games and ranks fourth among AHL rookies with 153 penalty minutes.
“He’s a hard-nosed, gritty player,’’ Yzerman said. ““He’s been pretty solid in Syracuse all year. He’s physical, and I think it’s a nice complement and he does a lot of the things that Ryan Callahan does that might be able to help us.’’
Paquette said he had no expectation of seeing NHL action this season despite his first-year success.
“I was a bit surprised,’’ Paquette said. “I got the call and saw (Syracuse GM) Julien (BriseBois) number on my phone and I thought, ‘OK,’’, so it was a good surprise and I was excited. . . . he asked me if I was ready to help the team win games.’’
Paquette picked up his first career point after winning a clean faceoff in the second period back to Eric Brewer, who put a wrist shot past Curtis McElhinney at 14:54.
C Tyler Johnson broke Stamkos’ rookie record with his 24th goal of the season on Thursday on a one-timer set up by Stamkos. Combined with the 23 goals fellow rookie LW Ondrej Palat has on the season, the 47 combined goals by the pair are the most by two rookies on the same team since Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal combined to score 62 goals in 2006-07.
Nuts and Bolts
Tampa Bay scratched D Keith Aulie, D Mark Barberio, LW Ryan Malone, C Cody Kunyk, Filppula, Purcell, Salo and Bishop. ... Columbus RW Nathan Horton underwent abdominal surgery on Friday and will be out six weeks. ... Brewer had his third career multi-goal game, first since Jan. 29, 2013, and has goals in consecutive games for the sixth time in his career.