Lightning’s Erik Cernak and Michael Eyssimont won’t play Game 2, Victor Hedman is a game-time decision
Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis1 month ago
Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper provided updates on the three players who were injured during the team’s Game 1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.
Per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Cooper said that Cernak and Eyssimont won’t suit up for Game 2 on Thursday and that Victor Hedman will be a game-time decision. Cooper also said that Tanner Jeannot, who missed Game 1 with a lower-body injury, could suit up as well.
Cernak took a direct hit to the head from Leafs forward Michael Bunting and he left the game immediately after and didn’t return. Bunting was removed from the game with a five-minute major penalty and will have a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.
Eyssimont was also injured because of a big hit from a Leafs player but it wasn’t one that warranted a penalty or any kind of discipline like Bunting’s did. Defenceman Jake McCabe levelled Eyssimont with an open-ice check just inside Toronto’s blueline. He left the game and didn’t return.
Hedman’s injury is somewhat of a mystery. He left Tampa’s bench early in the second period following 6:35 of ice time and he didn’t return. After the game, Cooper admitted that Hedman’s injury came as a surprise…
“Honestly, that one was a little bit surprising so we are hoping he should be OK,” Cooper said, per Bally Sports’ Gabby Shirley. “But it’s way too early to tell. This is one of those, let’s wake up tomorrow and see what’s going on, and, then, we can give you some sort of report.”
Hedman was second on the Lightning in average time on ice this season at 23:43 while Cernak anchors the team’s shutdown defensive pair, so losing both would put the team’s defensive depth to the test. Former Leaf Zach Bogosian will likely draw into Tampa’s lineup in place of Cernak for Game 2 and Haydn Fleury or Philippe Myers could potentially fill in for Hedman if he isn’t able to play.
If Jeannot is able to play, he could slide back into the third-line role alongside Nick Paul and Ross Colton that Eyssimont filled in Game 1. If not, Alex Barre-Boulet, who led Tampa’s AHL affiliate in scoring with 84 points in 69 games, could be an option as well.
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