Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vladislav Namestnikov was forced to leave the game against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night after having his knee taken out from under him.
The Tampa Bay Lightning has a tough challenge in front of them tonight. In their third game of their current four-game homestand, the Bolts are tasked with taking on the Number One team in the Western Conference right now, the Minnesota Wild.
The Bolts got off to a pretty amazing start tonight, going 2-0 over the Wild in the first 20 minutes of play. Unfortunately, things would get much darker when the team took the ice for the second period.
A mere three minutes and nine seconds would tick off the clock in the second period before tragedy would strike the Lightning. The injury bug which has plagued the Lightning all season long would come back with a vengeance as one of the Lightning’s most talented forwards would be taken out of the game.
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As Vladislav Namestnikov attempted to play the puck and prevent it from leaving the Lightning’s offensive zone, he would be aggressively pursued by Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise. Somewhere along the way, Parise seemed to lose his balance, as he slumped over.
Unfortunately, this led to him diving forward and taking out the knee of Namestnikov. Things seemed ok for a minute, and then the duo slammed into the boards and suddenly Namestnikov was in a tremendous amount of pain. The look in his face is similar to the one Steven Stamkos had when he broke his leg in Boston.
Namestnikov would remain face down on the ice for quite some time, continually clutching his right knee. Needless to say, while we are not doctors, this one looked to be as bad as one could easily assume.
This is definitely not good news for a Tampa Bay Lightning team who has been fighting tooth and nail to find their way back to postseason play, and has been finding much success as of late. Namestnikov has always been a dependable forward who is more than capable of stepping up when needed.
In the 62 games Namestnikov has played this season with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the 24-year-old center has brought home nine goals and 15 assists for a total of 24 points. These numbers place him in seventh place on the team in overall points
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The Tampa Bay Lightning honestly cannot afford to start losing players this late in the game. While the Bolts have some of the best depth in the National Hockey League, messing with a team’s chemistry this close to the postseason can prove to be detrimental to their effectiveness.
As always, we would hope the injury is much less severe than initially anticipated. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem like one of those moments when Lightning fans are going to get their wish.
We here at Bolts By The Bay sincerely wish Vladislav Namestnikov nothing but the best. Hopefully, his injury was much less severe than it looked. However, in the event it’s not, we wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him back on the ice as soon as humanly possible.