Defense pairings still on the move for the Lightning

SUNRISE — With three positions to fill on their blue line to open the season, the body of Lightning defensemen is still under construction.

The Lightning have played five different defense pairs in five games. On Friday against the Panthers’ interstate rival, right-handed defenseman Cal Foote was eliminated healthy in favor of Philippe Myers and Nick Perbix.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper said the reshuffle aims to take a closer look at some of the team’s newcomers, particularly among right-handed defensemen. Myers, acquired from Nashville in the trade of Ryan McDonagh, has played in just two of the team’s exhibition games and missed the Lightning’s game against Philadelphia on Tuesday.

He will team up with left-handed defenseman Ian Cole, playing his second game since being reinstated after his suspension, to form the Lightning’s third defense pair.

“The sample size is small and we have to watch some of these players play,” Cooper said. “And, you know, it’s a shame that we lost an exhibition game because of the storm, so these first games of the year, you watch to see what you have got in the players. (Myers) has been banged up recently, so it’s time to see what we’ve got in him here.

Perbix, a rookie who made his NHL debut on Tuesday, teamed up with Mikhail Sergachev for his second straight game.

The Lightning entered the season needing to fill two of three right-back positions after Jan Rutta left in free agency. Zach Bogosian will miss the first six to eight weeks of recovery after shoulder surgery.

Braydon Coburn returns, in the broadcast booth

As the Lightning players left Friday morning practice, they saw a familiar face in the hallway.

Former Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn, who played six seasons with Tampa Bay and was a member of the 2019-20 Stanley Cup team, was greeted with hugs and handshakes from his former teammates.

Coburn is testing a post-game career in broadcasting, and he made his radio debut as the Lightning’s radio color analyst for Friday’s game alongside play-by-play man Dave Mishkin.

Coburn, who still lives in Tampa Bay, was looking for a hockey opportunity that would keep him close to his family. He cut his teeth co-hosting the Lightning’s Block Party podcast with Seth Kushner.

quote of the day

“I remember thinking it was really dark and I could barely see because the spotlight was on me and I was like, ‘Don’t fall down and hit the mat.’ That’s all I thought.

Perbix takes to the ice for his rookie round on Tuesday before pregame warmups at Amalie Arena.

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