Lightning look for path forward on blueline after injuries

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning not only lost a key piece to its offense with the injury to forward Steven Stamkos on Monday, but they also lost two key blueliners in Sami Salo and Keith Aulie during their 3-0 loss to the Bruins.

The injury bug bit the Tampa Bay Lightning with the obvious loss of forward Steven Stamkos but the defense has also been impacted with injuries to Keith Aulie (upper body) and Sami Salo (lower body).

Both Salo and Aulie were injured in the 3-0 loss to the Boston Bruins on Monday. Salo left the game in the second period and favored his right leg as he made his way to the locker room.

Aulie's injury came in the third period and is  the ambiguous and vague upper body related.

With the absence of both defensemen, the pairings at the blue line are going to look drastically different. While Aulie has a minus-3 rating this season and was also struggling to get playing time (averaging just 9:26 per game in only 3 games), Salo was a large part of the team's success on defense so far this season.

Salo is a plus-3 rating thus far this season and will surely be missed on the power play unit, where he played a large role. It will be interesting to see who Jon Cooper tabs for the first power play unit in Salo's absence.

Rookies defensemen Andrej Sustr and Mark Barberio will now have a chance for more ice time as regulars Victor Hedman, Matt Carle, Radko Gudas, and Eric Brewer will have to step up their play with the losses on backend.  Sustr has been seeing much consistent ice time early on this season, but had been a healthy scratch of late to accommodate or Aulie in the lineup.  He's played in 12 of Tampa Bay's 17 games this season, averaging 15:38 of ice time with a plus-1 rating.

Dmitry Korobov was recalled earlier today from the Syracuse Crunch in preparation for tonight's game in Montreal. Korobov has played in all 13 games with the Crunch and has only finished one game with a minus rating.

Signs are pointing to Tampa Bay dressing all seven defensemen tonight, but that is not official at the time of this posting.

Whether or not Korobov makes his NHL debut tonight in Montreal, it is important the Bolts find chemistry with the new defensive pairings. Both Salo and Aulie's timetables for return have not been announced .

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