Ryan Strome and Ryan Pulock both made it back to the lineup for Game 4 on Friday night.
Strome, a healthy scratch in Game 3 to make way for Josh Bailey’s return, got back in to take Alan Quine’s spot.
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Quine had been one of Jack Capuano’s gambles. The coach decided the 22-year-old with only two regular-season games of NHL experience could be a help in the postseason.
Capuano’s faith was rewarded. Quine scored the double-overtime winner in Game 5 against the Panthers, a game in which Strome sat.
Quine, who has a goal and four assists, played on the left side with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo in the first three games of this series. Strome started Game 4, centering Brock Nelson and Steve Bernier, and Shane Prince moved up to skate with Tavares and Okposo.
Pulock had been out since leaving Game 4 of the Florida series in the third period with an upper-body injury. The timeline for his injury initially was given as one to two weeks, but the two-week mark came and went Tuesday and Pulock still was not ready.
After doing some battle drills on the ice Friday morning, he pronounced himself ready and took Marek Zidlicky’s spot on defense. Pulock fared well against the Panthers’ large forwards and now has to wrestle with the Lightning’s smaller, speedier ones.
“You just have to keep your feet moving, stay in your lanes and not let them beat you off the walls,” Pulock said. “They’re a little different than Florida, but they both have high-end skill.”
Lightning’s Carle returns
Defenseman Matt Carle returned after missing the past two games for Tampa Bay, with Nikita Nesterov taking a seat. The Lightning again went with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, with rookie Slater Koekkoek remaining in the lineup on defense and Luke Witkowski replacing Matt Taormina.
Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said he was “baffled” that Anton Stralman (broken leg) still isn’t ready to return, but the defenseman was ruled out for Friday night and likely Sunday’s Game 5 in Tampa.