Lightning Round: Erik Cernak out for Game Four

Lightning Round: Erik Cernak out for Game Four
Erik Cernak. Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Lightning via their Twitter (@TBLightning)

During his Zoom call with reporters on Sunday, Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper confirmed that Erik Cernak will be out of the line-up for Game Four against the Toronto Maple Leafs:

While the coach didn't rule him out for the series, it will now be three games that Cernak has missed following the elbow to the head he received in Game One from Michael Bunting. The suspension Bunting received for the hit also ends in Game Four so he will be eligible for return in Game Five.

In Cernak's absence Zach Bogosian has drawn into the line-up, averaging just over 16 minutes a game and holding his own. With the exception of a handful of players, the Lightning have had the edge in scoring chances while he's on the ice at 5v5. He's been on the ice for two goals scored and two goals scored against (one was shorthanded). So all in all, not a bad fill-in performance.

The Lightning do have two days off following Game Four which should allow for further evaluation and recovery for Cernak.

Pure Speculation To Follow!!

The Lightning have not officially declared what Cernak's injury is, but it is very possible that Cernak is dealing with a concussion. If that is the case, there is a return-to-play progression that the team has to follow in order for him to be cleared. There are six steps to the progression and each step should take about 24 hours. If that is the case, it should take about 7 days for Cernak to be cleared as long as he doesn't experience any setbacks.

If he was diagnosed with a concussion following Game One, Thursday's game would be the first one he was eligible to return for. Again, this is pure and rampant speculation so take it with a grain of salt. If he is dealing with a concussion the Lightning will take caution with his return. While he would be a big asset in the series, he is also 25-years-old and about to start an 8-year contract extension. They aren't going to risk his career to return for a few games against the Maple Leafs.

End Speculation!!!!

Lightning News

More thoughts and quotes from Game Three [Raw Charge]

Jon Cooper, Brandon Hagel, and Steven Stamkos shared their thoughts following the Game Three loss.

Lightning coach puzzled by 'manipulating officials' comment [Tampa Bay Times]

It's not quite the Wild/Stars coaching feud about embellishment, but the two coaches in this series are having a minor misunderstanding through the press.

Sam Lafferty fined for cross-check [Pension Plan Puppets]

Lafferty is $3,108.11 lighter in his bank account thanks to his crosscheck to the face of Ross Colton in Game Three. That was the maximum amount allowed based on his salary.

Lightning not fazed by injuries []

While we know Cernak is out, there is no word on the status of Brayden Point. He did return to the game after the hit, but sometimes it's the day after where the real discomfort sets in from a collision that his head coach compared to a "car accident".

NHL / Hockey News

Valeri Nichushkin away from team for personal reasons [The Athletic]

The Colorado Avalanche will be without their forward for an unknown amount of time. Coach Jared Bednar confirmed that Nichushkin is not with the team currently due to personal reasons. There is a lot of speculation as to why and how he left the team, but no solid details have been released by the organization.

Gabe Perreault - the prospect who broke Auston Matthews' scoring record [Daily Faceoff]

Perreault, son of former NHLer Yanic, is a 17-year-old draft-eligible forward for the USNTDP that has put up more points in a season than anyone, including Matthews, has before. The Boston College commit has 118 points on the season with more games left in the U-18 World Hockey Championship. Central Scouting currently has him ranked 10th among North American skaters heading into the draft.

Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 over New York Islanders (Carolina leads 3-1)

Seth Jarvis scored twice as the Hurricanes put the Islanders on the ropes with a convincing win. Jarvis opened the scoring on the power play and Carolina built a 4-0 lead before New York could find the scoreboard. The win snapped an eight-game road losing streak for Carolina that stretched back to the second round of the 2021 playoffs.

Boston Bruins 6-2 over Florida Panthers (Boston leads 3-1)

Taylor Hall scored twice in the third period to put the game away for the Bruins who look to be on their way to advancing to the second round. Linus Ullmark stopped 41 stops AND earned a misconduct penalty:

Dallas Stars 3-2 over Minnesota Wild - Series tied at 2

Tyler Seguin scored twice on the power play, including the eventual game-winner, as the Stars tied up their series against the Wild.

Edmonton Oilers 5-4 (OT) over Los Angeles Kings - Series tied at 2

Evander Kane tied it late and Zach Hyman won it in overtime.

This game finished after our initial posting went to press (i.e. your managing editor went to bed). It will be updated once he wakes up and gets to work.