WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Just more than a week after Steven Stamkos notched career point No. 500, the Lightning captain appeared in his 500th career game.
Stamkos became just the fifth player in franchise history to appear in at least 500 games in a Tampa Bay uniform, joining Vinny Lecavalier (1,037), Marty St. Louis (972), Pavel Kubina (662) and Brad Richards (552).
“It’s a great milestone,” Stamkos said. “When you come to the NHL you dream of just making it and you never know how long it’s going to last or how long you are going to do. It’s pretty cool to sit here and play my 500th.’’
His 500th comes at the MTS Centre, the same building where reached another milestone. Stamkos scores his 60th goal of the 2011-12 season in Winnipeg.
“It feels like time has definitely flown by, that’s for sure,” Stamkos said. “That’s the beauty of this sport, you meet so many great people along the way, play with some great players. ...You don’t have too many chances to take a step out and reminisce on all the great times. Hopefully, there are more to come.’’
As the Lightning came onto the ice Friday morning, LW Brian Boyle was missing and did not play against Winnipeg.
The team announced Boyle was day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.
“He woke up not feeling great this morning,’’ Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “I don’t think it’s a long term thing, so it might just be tonight, if at all,’’ Cooper said. “He should be all right.’’
Boyle, in his second season with Tampa Bay, has not missed a regular season game since the 2012-13 season with the New York Rangers. He missed Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals in the playoffs last year, reportedly with back spasms.
Sitting out Bishop?
After possibly toying with the idea of starting G Ben Bishop on back-to-back nights, the Lightning instead intend to give their No. 1 goalie the night off after starting the first eight games of the season.
But instead of turning to Kevin Poulin, who has dressed as the backup for all eight games this season, Tampa Bay is expected to start Kristers Gudlevskis when the Lightning play at Chicago on Saturday. Though the recall was not official Friday night, Gudlevskis was scratched from the lineup for Syracuse’s game while the Crunch recalled Allen York, who dressed behind starter Adam Wilcox on Friday.
Cooper hinted toward the end of training camp that whoever started the season as the backup would not necessarily play as the backup.
Nuts and Bolts
D Nikita Nesterov, eligible to return following a two-game suspension, was scratched. ... LW Jonathan Drouin was a linemate of Winnipeg RW Nikolaj Ehlers in Halifax. Both wear the same jersey number, 27.