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Lightning Round: Erik Cernak could be back sooner than expected

One of the key pieces of the Lightning defense could be back sooner than expected

NHL: NOV 06 Lightning at Senators Photo by Steven Kingsman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Things didn’t look great when Erik Cernak left the Tampa Bay Lightning game against the Carolina Hurricanes on November 9th with an upper body injury. He fills a huge role for the team as one of their minutes leaders, blocked shots leaders, and just good ol’ tough to play against leaders. At the time of the injury he was expected to be out “week-to-week” and now, after just over a week, it looks like he could be back soon.

Another week’s absence would put the big defender out of the line-up for games against Philadelphia (tonight), New Jersey (Saturday), Minnesota (Sunday), and Philadelphia (Tuesday). That could possibly put him in line for a return against old friend Yanni Gourde and the Seattle Kraken the day after Thanksgiving.

If and when he comes back, it will allow the Lightning to deploy the full defensive corp that they had planned on at the beginning of the season. Everyone will finally be healthy at the same time. The defense has been playing better as a whole lately, but adding Cernak back in would be a tremendous boost and allow the coaching staff to control the minutes of the entire unit to prevent them from getting worn out early in the season.

Lightning / NHL News

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