Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/12/13
A day after Lightning star Steven Stamkos broke his right tibia crashing into a goal post at TD Garden, the focus shifted from what happened -- Stamkos had Tuesday morning surgery to repair the injury -- to how the Lightning will cope with the loss of its best player perhaps for the rest of the season. Tampa Bay also has injury issues on the blue line as defensemen Sami Salo (lower body) and Keith Aulile (upper body) were hurt in Monday's 3-0 loss to the Bruins and will not play tonight at Montreal The first moves came Tuesday as right wing J.T. Brown and defenseman Dmitry Korobov were called up from AHL Syracuse. Crunch general manager Julien BriseBois said those two were called up "we felt they will give us the best chance to win tonight in Montreal. After tonight we'll reevaluate and see what we need for Thursday's game (at home against the Ducks)." Only a handful of players skated at the Bell Centre on Tuesday so how the players will line up against the Canadiens was difficult to determine, though with Brown, a wing, as a call-up, someone (likely Alex Killorn or Brett Connolly) will have to switch to center. The only thing for sure is Ben Bishop will get the start in net. "Are we going to miss him, no question. That's an understatement," coach Jon Cooper said of Stamkos. "But Stammer didn't score until his fourth game of the year this year and we were 2-1 going into that game." Captain Marty St. Louis said that while Stamkos' goals will be missed, it is the team's defensive structure that has been the key to the Lightning's 12-5-0 start that has it on top of the Eastern Conference. That structure will not change. "But that structure is going to be even more important now," St. Louis said. "Guys are going to have to step up. We're all well aware of what kind of piece we lost, but we have to move forward collectively." How confident is he the struture will hold? "I'm very confident," he said. "I think it's gotten us where we are right now. Obviously, Stammer's goals are going to be missed. But other guys are going to have to score, and it starts with me." As for Brown and Korobov, BriseBois said both have in the past year made great strides with the Crunch. Brown, 23, has four goals and 10 points in 13 games and is tied for the team lead with 42 shots on goal. He also played five games with the Lightning after he was signed in March 2012 out of the University of Minnesota-Duluth and had one assist. "He's been really good," BriseBois said. "He's been one of our best forwards at Syracuse. he plays a strong two-way game, is responsible. He's got speed and he's really improved his shot ove the last year, so he's more of a threat to score goals. His game is just coming into maturity now."
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