Ondrej Palat could be back in lineup by Saturday

Tampa Bay Lightning forward – and birthday boy – Ondrej Palat left last Monday night’s game early with an upper-body injury. Fortunately, it sounds like the now 28-year-old will be returning to the lineup sooner rather than later.

Palat, who has eight goals and 24 assists in 59 games this season, sustained his injury in the second period of the game against the Boston Bruins after he took a hard hit at the blueline from Boston defenseman Connor Clifton. Despite the hole in their lineup, the Bolts mounted a comeback from a two-goal deficit, netting three in the third period and securing a 5-4 win over the division rival.

According to an earlier broadcast of Lightning Hockey Night with Rick Peckham, Brian Engblom and Brian Bradley, Palat is on a day-to-day status and could return as early as the Lightning’s next matchup this Saturday against the Washington Capitals.

Not that injuries ever happen at “convenient” times, but Palat’s injury really could not have come at a better time, assuming it isn’t more serious. The Bolts are currently enjoying a four-day break from the ice just before they drop the puck for their last five games of the regular season.

Meanwhile, word has it that defenseman Anton Stralman could find himself back in the lineup by Saturday after being sidelined for more than three weeks with a lower-body injury. Defenseman Dan Girardi is hoping to be ready to return from his lower-body injury by the start of the playoffs.

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Despite the Lightning’s success with an ongoing list of injuries, we’re all hoping to see a full and healthy lineup back on the ice by the regular season’s end…or sooner.

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