Alex Barre-Boulet returns as Lightning sort through injuries

TAMPA — The Lightning had two days off during this Thanksgiving holiday week to try and heal up, but they will go into tonight’s home game against the Blues still reaching to field a healthy roster.

The team recalled forward Alex Barre-Boulet from AHL Syracuse to be the 12th healthy forward against St. Louis.

The Lightning will get back forward Ross Colton, who missed Monday’s loss to Boston with an upper body injury. But rookie forward Cole Koepke (upper body) is on injured reserve, having missed the past two games, and center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare is away from the team on a personal leave of absence.

“Just keep working,” Barre-Boulet said of his success in Syracuse. “Even if I get sent down, it’s never fun, but I have to keep a positive attitude and keep working hard so I could come back here. I had great help from my teammates, too.”

Barre-Boulet leads the AHL with 20 assists and 24 points, and has 11 points (two goals, nine assists) over his past five games with the Crunch. Barre-Boulet said he concentrated on improving his skating, worked to refine his defensive game and has been rewarded with more time on the penalty kill and in the final minutes of games.

“The numbers are good, so he’s in,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “He deserves to be up here.”

Barre-Boulet, 25, would have to again clear waivers in order to be re-assigned to Syracuse. Last year, he was claimed by the expansion Kraken and spent two games with Seattle before the Lightning re-acquired him.

The Lightning also will be without defensemen Nick Perbix (lower body), who is on injured reserve. The team has activated defenseman Cal Foote off IR, giving them eight healthy defensemen tonight.

Two-way center Anthony Cirelli, who hasn’t played this season while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, could return as soon as Dec. 3 when the Lightning return from their upcoming road trip and host Toronto. Last week his no-contact status was removed in practice.

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