After being torched by the Flames on the scoreboard, the Lightning now have to worry about the health of their all-star defenseman.
Things were going great for the Tampa Bay Lightning – until they weren’t. All parties involved were quick to chock this one up to, simply, a bad day.
Flames strike first – and second
Calgary winger Micheal Ferland started the scoring after only :29 had run off the clock. Perhaps the bigger scare came moments later when Troy Brouwer laid a strong hit on Mikhail Sergachev. Alex Killorn took exception to the hit and he and Brouwer duked it out – probably not the best decision for Killorn as he ended up taking several big shots to the face – right in front of the team benches.
Sergachev limped off the ice and immediately went back to the locker room. He returned after missing a couple shifts.
Tampa Bay, trailing on the scoreboard, had several opportunities during the opening period. They outshot Calgary 16-7 after 20 minutes of play.
— NHL (@NHL) January 12, 2018
Having allowed 11 goals over his last three starts, Andrei Vasilevskiy has been less than stellar. Prior to his recent struggles the 23-year-old posted back-to-back shutouts. Given that he has been the best goaltender in the NHL to this point, there is really nothing to worry about. His 2.10 GAA and .933 save pct. were still tops in the league entering tonight. When asked about the timing of the 5-day break Vasilevskiy noted his recent play.
“Luck wasn’t on our side. Lots of goals, bad bounces, and good tips,” he said after the game. “It’s a good thing we have the break now.”
Point matches career-high
Penalty shot for Paquette
After being taken down – crashing into the boards after a Mark Giordano hold – Cedric Paquette was awarded a penalty shot. Calgary goalie Mike Smith was up to the task. Paquette was unable to get much elevation on the puck after working his way in close to the net.
Injury does not look good for Hedman
Seven minutes into the second period Victor Hedman suffered a lower-leg injury – he did not return. When Hedman limped off the ice the Bolts were tied 1-1 with Calgary. The Flames caught fire after Hedman left the game. Johnny Gaudreau, Sam Bennett, Mark Jankowski, and Matthew Tkachuk gave the visiting team four unanswered goals to close out the victory.
“He’s gonna get tested tomorrow so I guess we’ll see the extent of what’s wrong. It was pretty deflating, not so much when it happened, when we went into the break after the second period,” Jon Cooper told us after the game. “We actually played pretty good…Especially after two, I thought we had pretty much control of that game and to go into the room down 3-1 was tough.”
Hedman was tops in the NHL (+24) for plus/minus entering tonight. He was on the ice for each of the first two goals this evening so his total remains the same.
“Arguably the best – top three, whatever you wanna call it, defenseman in the league,” said captain Steven Stamkos. “He’s a huge part of this team and it’s unfortunate to see him go down.”
Cooper, while recognizing Hedman’s contributions as one of the leagues’ best defenseman, was quick to point out that this isn’t the first time they’ve been without their star defender.
“Often how Heddy goes is how we go. There’s some elite players on this team but on the back end he’s kind of our rock back there,” Cooper said of his defenseman. “It’s not like we haven’t lost him before. I guess the big worry would be if we lost him long-term.”
During the 2014-15 season Hedman missed 23 games due to a broken finger. The Lightning coach was also quick to point out just how important a solid defender can be.
“But you could go to any team in the league…take [Erik] Karlsson off Ottawa or [Drew] Daughty off LA, you just go through the guys. It would have an impact on any team.”
- Dan Girardi (upper body) sat out for the second-straight games after being struck in the neck by a puck on January 7 in Detroit.
- Vasilevskiy has allowed 15 goals in his last three starts. From December 2 to January 2 (12 games) he allowed the same number of goals.
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