Injuries seem to be the bane of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s existence in this shortened NHL season. Today, we will look into the injuries currently plaguing the team as they head into the great white north to face Dion Phaneuf and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
First up, we have Lightning left wing Ryan Malone. Malone was injured on Monday during the match up between the Lightning and the Philadelphia Flyers when he took a massive hit from Flyers center Zac Rinaldo. Since then, Ryan Malone has been placed on Injured Reserve.
This means that the left winger will miss a minimum of 7 days. Looking at the Lightning’s current schedule, in the best case scenario we will not see Malone again until the Bolts return home on March 26th to face Ryan Miller and the Buffalo Sabres. However, this is only in the best case scenario. We will obviously know more as time progresses. But in any case, I can assure you that the Lightning will have to take it up a notch without Malone in the lineup.
Being that the Lightning did not make a call to the Syracuse Crunch to bring someone up for tonight’s game, one can only assume that this means we will see the addition of Pierre-Cedric Labrie to the lineup tonight.
This brings me to Victor Hedman. Hedman did skate this morning. As of now, Hedman’s role in tonight’s game will be a game time decision. According to the Lightning, he will be skating in the Pre-Game Skate and will see how he feels. The decision on whether or not he will play will depend on that.
Hedman was yet another victim from the Flyers game on Monday. He was sent to the locker room shortly before Malone. Hedman has 4 goals and 10 assists so far this season for a total of 14 points. He is also rocking a plus-10 rating right now. This is the second highest on the Lightning, only being topped by fellow defenseman Sami Salo with a plus-13.
Now for some good news:
Lightning goaltender Mathieu Garon was the first person off of the ice this morning; so many outlets are speculating that he will get the start in net tonight.
As you already know, Garon has had to contend with an injury of his own this season. Garon suffered a lower body injury on March 4th after making a tough stretch save on Evgeni Malkin in the opening moments of the second period when the Lightning took on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Now, we have Benoit Pouliot. While he is not ready to go tonight against the Maple Leafs, the good news is that according to Lightning Head Coach Guy Boucher, Pouliot could return as early as this weekend. This is just in time for the Lightning’s back-to-back against the Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets respectively.
Hopefully, for those with more extensive injuries, they will heal quickly and be back on the ice soon. Losing Malone again is not going to help the Lightning in front of the opposing team’s net. To those on the mend already, I can’t wait to see them back in the lineup.
Garon has been playing well as of late. Garon currently has a Shots Allowed Average of 2.65 for a Save Percentage of .915. Benoit Pouliot has 6 goals and 8 assists for a total of 14 points in the 21 games he has played this season. Insert these players into an already supercharged Lightning lineup, and good things are sure to continue.
I guess taking the good with the bad is all in the name of hockey.
What are some of your thoughts on the latest string of injuries? What do you think needs to be done in order to keep the Lightning’s win streak going? Sound off in the comments below.