It seems like the bad news continues to roll in for those of us here in the Bolts Nation. In addition to the 4-1 loss we suffered last night at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bolts have suffered yet another loss due to injury. According to Lightning Beat Reporter Missy Zielinski, Tampa Bay Lightning center Valtteri Filppula will miss at least three weeks due to a Non-Displaced Fracture in his right ankle.
Unfortunately, this also means that he will not be able to represent Team Finland in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games that kicked off this week in Sochi, Russia.
This would not have been the first time that Filppula had skated on Olympic ice in support of his country. The Vantaa, Finland native was part of Team Finland in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver where Finland stood tall and took home the Bronze Medal.
In the six games he played in the 2010 Games, he scored 3 goals.
This is certainly another big loss for the Tampa Bay Lightning. With Lightning center Steven Stamkos sidelined for at least another 2-3 weeks with his fractured tibia still healing, Filppula had been given an expanded role on the Lightning’s offense; one that he had been filling quite nicely.
Currently, Filppula is second on the team in points. He has scored 20 goals and 21 assists for a total of 41 points along with his plus-2 rating. The only person ahead of him in the points race is the captain, Martin St. Louis.
Flipper has also been strong in a number of other areas like the faceoff circle and during the shootout.
This is not the first time that the Bolts have been bitten by the Injury Bug this season, and I am sure that it will not be the last. What the Lightning need to do now is to come together, refocus their efforts, and try to end this stretch on a high note.
Tomorrow night’s game against the Detroit Red Wings is our last game before the Olympic Break officially begins. We need to do everything we can to grasp those two points and put ourselves in a position to come out swinging when NHL hockey returns.