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Lightning Round: Erik Cernak might be finally ready to return

The Bolts are playing against the Devils on Tuesday.

Vancouver Canucks v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

Yesterday the Tampa Bay Lightning reassigned defenceman Darren Raddysh to the Syracuse Crunch. The older brother of Lightning forward Taylor Raddysh has played in four games with the Bolts this season including the two last games.

This might be an indication that Erik Cernak, who hasn’t played the entire previous month due to a lower body injury, could be finally ready for return. Earlier Lightning head coach Jon Cooper already mentioned that they’re hopeful that the Slovak defenceman could play before the end of the three-game road trip, which ends next Tuesday with a game against the New Jersey Devils. Cernak has been struggling with injuries during the past two seasons: this season he already missed 27 games due to various injuries, while during the 2020-21 regular season he had been sidelined for ten games.

Cernak’s return would also allow Mikhail Sergachev to return to his more natural position — on the left side of the third pair with Cal Foote. Even without Cernak, the right side of the Lightning’s defence has been pretty solid this season. Overall the team’s blueline ranks fourth in the whole league in expected goals against at 5v5.

Another Tampa Bay’s defenceman Zach Bogosian remains in week-to-week category. Earlier he was placed on LTIR retroactive to January 15. After next week’s game against the Devils, the Lightning will have another eight-day break before the next game.

Lightning Links

The Syracuse Crunch couldn’t get revenge against the Laval Rocket, losing to them in a second consecutive game 5-1.

The Orlando Solar Bears didn’t manage to earn a win either on Saturday night, losing 2-1 to the Florida Everblades.

Hockey News

The Lightning’s opponents for the top places in the Eastern Conference — the Carolina Hurricanes and the Toronto Maple Leafs both suffered a loss on Saturday night.

The Montreal Canadiens have acquired goaltender Andrew Hammond from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for forward Brandon Baddock.

The Ottawa Senators prospect Jake Sanderson suffered an undisclosed injury during the over Canada at the Olympics and listed as day-to-day.

Finland defeated Sweden 4-3 in overtime, hurting the Canadians’ chances to advance to the quarterfinals directly in Beijing.

Team ROC suffered their first loss at the Olympics, losing to Czech Republic 6-5 in overtime.