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Lightning Round: Victor Hedman’s injury reportedly will require surgery in the offseason

The Lightning defenceman has been playing through an injury in the last month

Tampa Bay Lightning v Detroit Red Wings”n Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

Yesterday the Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the Florida Panthers in a first round preview. The Lightning played without several key players on their blueline, including Victor Hedman. The team didn’t share additional information on his injury and currently he’s listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Meanwhile, Sportsnet’s reporter Chris Johnston on the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast mentioned that Hedman’s injury is probably connected to an old incident, when he awkwardly fell into the boards during the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets back in March. In this game Hedman was helped off the ice, but was able to return a few minutes later, recording a career-high 10 shots that night. According to Johnston, Hedman has been playing the whole month through the injury and, while he will probably find the way to return for playoffs, his injury will most likely require surgery in the offseason.

This injury would explain Victor Hedman’s slump in recent month. Last year’s Conn Smythe Trophy winner hasn’t been driving offense as effectively as before and while he was still able to collect some power play points, his 5v5 production has dropped dramatically. According to Natural Stat Trick, Hedman recorded just 48.55 xGF% at 5v5 since the start of April, higher only than two of his teammates on the blueline – Cal Foote, who fell out of roster and was sent to the Syracuse Crunch and Fredrik Claesson, who appeared in just one game last night. Hedman’s GF% also dropped to 40%, meaning that the team was massively outscored with him on the ice.

Victor Hedman’s own slump also coincided with the whole team’s slump. Just like Andrei Vasilevskiy, Hedman is one of the Lightning’s key players and his performance is crucial to the overall team’s success. Having such a significant player out of the lineup at some point during the playoffs, will negatively impact the Lightning’s chances.

According to his postgame interview, Jon Cooper is hopeful that Hedman, McDonagh and Rutta will be ready for the playoffs, but they will have to wait until their injuries are reevaluated. McDonagh left the ice during the last period of Friday’s game against the Dallas Stars and is listed day-to-day with upper-body injury. Jan Rutta has just returned after spending the whole previous month on LTIR and is also listed as day-to-day, but with lower-body injury.

Lightning Links

The Lightning dropped their second game in two days in a playoff preview against the Florida Panthers. Both teams combined for 136 penalty minutes, including seven misconducts [Raw Charge]

The Tampa Bay Lightning failed to secure home-ice advantage for the upcoming first round of playoffs against the Florida Panthers after a 5-1 loss on Saturday night. The Lightning also got swept for the first time in back-to-back games this season. Despite all of that, Tampa Bay still could clinch home ice with a regulation win in the last game of the regular season against the same opponent on Monday.

The NHL will relax its COVID-19 protocols for teams with at least 85-percent of their travelling party vaccinated, allowing players to gather outside of team facilities and spend some time in each other’s hotel rooms. The Lightning are amongst those teams that have reached that threshold.

The Syracuse Crunch beat the Utica Comets 4-2 on Saturday, claiming the Galaxy Cup in the last home game of the season. Cal Foote scored his first goal since rejoining Syracuse.

The Orlando Solar Bears defeated the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on the Military Appreciation Night.

Hockey News

The Nashville Predators have clinched the last playoff spot in the Central Division and will face the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of playoffs.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have won the North Division after defeating the Montreal Canadiens last night. This is the first time since the 1999-2000 season that the team finished in the top place in their division.

John Tortorella officially won’t return as the Columbus Blue Jackets head coach next season.

Tortorella, however, is not going to retire and open for new career possibilities.

Connor McDavid recorded his 100th point of this season in a game against the Vancouver Canucks last night, becoming just the 9th player to achieve this in 53 games in the NHL history.