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Drouin, Johnson, and Paquette ruled out for tonight's game

As was speculated yesterday, the Lightning are ailing up front.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Bryan Burns, Tampa Bay Lightning beat reporter, is reporting on Twitter that forwards Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Johnson and Cedric Paquette have all been ruled out for tonight's game against the Florida Panthers.

Yesterday with the call ups of forwards Mike Blunden and Jonathan Marchessault, we speculated that all three of these players might be out for this game. With the report that all three forwards are out, that means that both Blunden and Marchessault will be in the line up tonight as well as defenseman Matt Taormina as the Lightning will have to go with 7 defenseman with only 11 healthy forwards available.

It seemed the Lightning were finally finding some good chemistry top to bottom with their latest tinkering with the lines, but these injuries look to throw everything out of sync particularly with two of your centers going out. The line of Jonathan Drouin, Cedric Paquette, and J.T. Brown in particular looked particularly electric. Thankfully the Lightning have had extra centers playing on the wing and will be able to juggle the lines accordingly. Here is my rough guess of what the lines might look like for tonight's game. We should find out a little more when on that when we get to the pre-game skate.

Vladislav Namestnikov Steven Stamkos Ryan Callahan
Alex Killorn Valtteri Filppula Nikita Kucherov
Jonathan Marchessault Brian Boyle Erik Condra
Mike Blunden J.T. Brown

The open center spot in the bottom line will allow the four remaining centers on the roster (Stamkos, Filppula, Boyle and Namestnikov) to take extra shifts between Blunden and Brown throughout the game. It sounds like these injuries are going to be short term, but the Lightning need all three to come back soon to re-gain that chemistry that was being built.