Every team in the NHL has 30 games or fewer to play in the season, except for the Colorado Avalanche with 31 games remaining. The Lightning have 27 games to go after their game Friday night against the Minnesota Wild. The Lightning are also the first of the NHL teams to not have a player play in every single game of the regular season.
In their game against the best team in the league this past Friday, news emerged during morning skate that Tyler Johnson was not on the ice. The injury, the nature of which is undisclosed, came during the Tuesday home game against the LA Kings. It came in Johnson’s 54th game of the season, longer than any other Bolts player has gone uninjured. Johnson also missed the game on the second half of the back-to-back against the Winnipeg Jets.
Injuries are a part of the game. There is no getting around that. Players often play through injuries that would have most of the rest of us calling out from work. So when an injury keeps a player out of the line up, you know that it is something serious enough to compromise their ability to play.
The Lightning are the 6th youngest roster in the NHL. The Lightning aren’t weighed down by too many players over the age of 30. Valtteri Filppula, Jason Garrison, and Brian Boyle top out the roster at 32 years old. The team is flush with players right around the 25-27 years old mark, which is prime years for a hockey player.
The five younger rosters have an average of 7 players that have played in every game, with the Toronto Maple Leafs topping the league with 10 players. 21 teams have five or more players that have played in every game. Now, this number will dwindle as the season approaches the finish line. But it still shows the struggles that the Lightning have had with injuries all year.
Luckily, Tampa is entering its Bye Week, which will give Johnson a solid six days to recover. Stay off the wakeboard!