Tampa Bay Lightning Injury Update: Cedric Paquette could make season debut against Penguins

(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cedric Paquette could very well make his season debut tonight as the Lightning takes on the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Tampa Bay Lightning has been on a bit of a rollercoaster so far this season. The Lightning will have amazing outings like their 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers that opened up the season and the 7-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 10, but then they’ll have games like the absolute thrashing the Bolts received in their 6-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on October 19.

One thing the Lightning has lacked this season has been consistency. At the same time, it’s difficult to be consistent when certain pieces of the puzzle are missing. Of course, by pieces of the puzzle, we’re talking about having a full complement of healthy players. Thankfully, the Bolts may be making strides towards a more complete roster as they make their way back into the Amalie Arena tonight.

According to Tampa Bay Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper, there is a strong possibility Lightning forward Cedric Paquette could make his season debut as the Bolts take on captain Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Coach Cooper spoke to the media after the team’s morning skate today and the very first question he received was regarding the 26-year-old Canadian forward. “There’s a really good chance he will tonight, yeah,” Cooper said when asked if Paquette would be making his debut tonight.

Paquette’s return couldn’t possibly come at a better time for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Much like the Lightning, the Penguins are a fast-paced team. As anyone here in the Bolts Nation knows, Cedric Paquette is excellent at breaking up plays and really getting under the skin of his opponents, which can definitely disrupt the pace of the game for anyone on the other side of the ice.

Last season was a really good year for Paquette. In the 80 games he played with the Bolts last season, Paquette brought home 13 goals and four assists for a total of 17 points accompanied by a plus-7 rating. Not only was this a career-high in goals scored, but it is also the best plus/minus rating he’s had since making his NHL debut in the 2013-14 season.

The Tampa Bay Lightning may have another advantage over the Penguins tonight in addition to the return of Cedric Paquette. While the Lightning is well-rested, having had three days off since their encounter with the Colorado Avalanche, the Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t quite as lucky. The Pens suffered a 4-2 loss at the hands of the Florida Panthers just one night ago.

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Lightning fans have been very divided about the way the team has performed this season. Given their success in the regular season and utter failure in the postseason last year, expectations have been set really high for the Bolts. A victory over the Penguins at home tonight would definitely do well to reassure the fans the Lightning is in it to win it this season.