3. Dressing 7 defensemen is proving to be a necessity
We had a feeling the Lightning would opt to dress seven defensemen in Brayden Point’s absence, but we could not have predicted the attrition the Bolts’ blue line would face to begin the series.
Multiple right-defensemen, including Erik Cernak and Cal Foote, missed time in Game 1 due to blocking shots.
For Game 2, Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak both took trips down the tunnel in the first period after blocking shots to the face before ultimately returning to the bench for the beginning of the second period. Even then Cernak would require additional attention on the bench multiple times throughout the remainder of the game.
For now, the Lightning are handling the occasional absence of one of their defensemen with ease as the additional defenseman dressed makes splitting up the ice-time relatively easy, but that could change if one or more of the short-term injuries that require a locker room visit become long-term concerns that keep them entirely out of games.