The Tampa Bay Lightning has taken a hit to the defensive core as Anton Stralman has gone down with a Lower-Body Injury.
The Tampa Bay Lightning definitely started off the season on the right foot and managed to stay relatively healthy. Unfortunately, as the season forged on, the injury bug made its name known here in the Bolts Nation once again.
Now, it seems like players are falling like flies to some form of illness or injury. This time, the Lightning has taken a rather large hit to their defensive core.
It was announced last night before the Lightning took on the Montreal Canadiens that defenseman Anton Stralman would not be taking the ice with his teammates and was being considered as day-to-day with a Lower Body Injury. Given the term “day-to-day” it is unknown exactly when Stralman will be returning to the ice.
The other thing the Lightning weren’t exactly giving with was the nature of Stralman’s ailment. On the bright side, given the fact he’s been listed as day-to-day would leave one to believe the injury is not that severe.
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The Bolts Nation began asking questions on Wednesday morning when Stralman left practice after about 10-15 minutes. According to Lightning Insider Erik Erlendsson, the team claimed this was due to body maintenance. Things turned into a bit of a fever pitch when Stralman was not on the ice for pregame warmups.
It wasn’t until just before puck drop when the news hit Anton Stralman would be missing last night’s encounter with the Montreal Canadiens. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as if the situation has changed much overnight, and Stralman will almost assuredly be missing tonight’s encounter with the Philadelphia Flyers.
When Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper spoke to the media following last night’s game, he was asked directly about whether or not Stralman would be available for tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Cooper had this to say:
“Yeah…I don’t know. It’s a lot more possible for Columbus, let’s put it that way.”
The good news here is the Lightning has some great young defensive talent ready to step up and fill the gap left by the absence of Anton Stralman. One of the first names which come to mind is defenseman Mikhail Sergachev. Sergachev has done an outstanding job in his first season with the Lightning and has made some excellent strides in improving his game on both the defensive and offensive sides of the game.
Another defenseman, who the Bolts Nation would like to see a lot more of is Slater Koekkoek. Koekkoek is another player who has really shown the team what he can do when he is given the chance to succeed. Unfortunately, Koekkoek has spent far more time than one would like serving as the team’s healthy scratch.
Maybe, just maybe, in Stralman’s absence, Koekkoek will get a little more ice time. Given by his track record this season, this couldn’t possibly be a bad thing for the team.
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In any case, after the Lightning’s encounter with the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, the Lightning will finish off 2017 on the road with a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on New Year’s Eve. It would definitely be a nice way to end the year to get one of the best veteran defensemen on the team back in the lineup. Well…a win would be nice too, but you know…