For the better part of the past month, D Randy Jones has been spitting fire to get back on the ice.
With the unknown status of D Pavel Kubina, who left Friday's game with an upper-body injury, Jones may get into the lineup for the first time since suffering a high ankle sprain on March 9.
"I've been spitting fire since the regular season. I want to get back, I'm dying to get back,'' Jones said after Saturday's optional practice at Verizon Center. "The boys are playing well right now, and I just want to do anything I can to contribute, when and if I get the call.''
At the time of his injury, Jones was playing top-pairing minutes and was one of the team's key penalty killers, playing between 18 and 22 minutes. He finished the regular season with one goal and 13 points in 61 games, averaging 17:03 of ice time.
While Jones likely won't see that kind time should he return tonight in Game 2 against Washington, Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said Jones will get the call if Kubina is unable to play.
"We are not expecting him to come in and play big minutes," Boucher said. "We are still going to go with our seven defensemen, so the other six guys have had a lot of ice time lately. They've been in the playoffs and won big games.
"So we are not going to ask Randy to be a savior. He'll get some ice time and we'll give him time to get adjusted, that's for sure.''
Jones has stayed involved in team meetings the past six-plus weeks. He's been prepared to step back into the lineup since the end of the regular season.
"When you are not playing you can't separate yourself from the team. You have to know what is going on. You have to be involved, physically and mentally,'' Jones said. "It's testing my patience a little bit. Frustration sets in a little bit there just because you want to get out there and you want to be a part of this."
Washington LW Jason Chimera received no supplementary discipline for the elbow delivered to the back of the head of Kubina during the second period of Friday's game. Boucher, who said in Friday's postgame news conference he did not see the play, got a chance to look at it overnight.
"It would be wise for me not to comment,'' he said.
Washington coach Bruce Boudreau was not happy with his team's effort in the loss, referring to the performance as "river hockey,'' a reference to the free-wheeling style of play Boudreau has tried to change this season.
"I don't know why they reverted back," Boudreau said. "I think they just got caught up in wanting to score when it was 2-1, thinking this was going to be easy. And (they) wanted to make it 3-1 and 4-1 rather than just batten down the hatches and being patient for our opportunities to score.''
Tampa Bay expects to see a fired-up Washington team.
"They are going to come out flying,'' C Steven Stamkos said. "It is obviously not the way they wanted to start the series, especially on home ice. So, we have to expect the absolute best from that team, and when they play at their best they are a tough team to beat."
Washington D John Carlson played only 36 seconds of the third period after a collision with C Nate Thompson late in the second. Carlson remained on the bench, but he took only the one shift. His status for Game 2 is unclear and Carlson did not take part in Saturday's optional skate. He is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.
"I think there's a pretty good chance he'll play," Boudreau said of Carlson. "I'm not 100 percent sure.''
Nuts and Bolts
Tampa Bay is 6-4 all-time in Game 2 in the playoffs, but has won four straight Game 2s, including three on the road. … The Lightning have been outshot in all eight playoff games. … G Dwayne Roloson's 243 saves against Pittsburgh in the first round easily broke the franchise record for most in a series, beating Nikolai Khabibulin's mark of 164 against Washington in the first round in 2003.