Tampa Bay Lightning: Tyler Johnson Nears Return To Lineup

Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson nears a return to the Lightning lineup as the team heads out on the road for a three-game Western Conference road trip.

The 2015-16 season has certainly been a trying one for the Tampa Bay Lightning, both individually and as a whole. One of the Lightning’s players who has experienced more than their fair share of adversity is Lightning center Tyler Johnson.

Johnson started out the season on the mother of all scoreless streaks. Despite his on-ice skill and killer shot, Johnson just simply could not find the back of the net of his life depended on it. While opposing goaltenders had something to say about a certain percentage of those missed opportunities, more than a few were a casualty of the agonizing cling of the goal post.

Just as Tyler Johnson started to find his groove and get back into the swing of things, it happened. Johnson was soon bit by the injury bug, and has been forced to miss quite a few games as a result of injury. As anyone who has ever laced up their skates and taken the ice with their teammates knows all-too-well, this is agonizing for a hockey player; especially when your team is struggling and you are incapable of helping the situation.

Thankfully, Tyler Johnson’s stay at the Injury Inn may be coming to an end soon. According to Tampa Bay Lightning Beat Writer Bryan Burns, Tampa Bay Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper stated he expects Johnson to rejoin the Tampa Bay Lightning lineup at some point during the team’s West Coast road trip.

“Tomorrow [today] will be a big day for Johnny. Johnny’s playing on the trip, I just don’t know when.” – Coach Jon Cooper via Bryan Burns/Twitter

As most of you know by now, Johnson – along with his linemates Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat – have been a consistent factor for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s offense. Last season, the young trio accounted for just over one-third of the team’s offense. Those are some pretty impressive numbers for a group of guys who were in the middle of what is generally known as their “sophomore slump.”

Once Tyler Johnson returns to the Lightning lineup, the Triplets will become a duo – at least for the time being. As most of you know, Ondrej Palat is currently out 3-5 weeks with a Lower Body Injury.

While the real extent of Johnson’s injury is unknown to anyone other than the powers that be at the Tampa Bay Lightning, we sincerely hope Tyler Johnson is able to rejoin the team before they come face-to-face with the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, this may come down to a game time decision. We’ll simply have to wait and see.

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