The Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals went to war on Friday. The Lightning came out on the worse side of things — not only on the scoreboard but in the locker room as well.
Tampa Bay lost three defensemen Cal Foote, Erik Cernak, and Mikail Sergachev to injury during the game.
Head coach Jon Cooper gave updates on those three players during Tampa Bay’s morning skate on Sunday. The two teams are set to rematch each other tonight at Amalie Arena.
Foote and Cernak were both absent during the morning skate while Sergachev was able to participate. Here is how the Lightning lined up via the Tampa Bay Times’ Eduardo Encina.
Filling in for the two injured defensemen will be Haydn Fleury and Philippe Myers. Both are multi-year NHL veterans that have already gotten into seven games apiece for the Lightning this season.
Foote was lost when Caps waiver-wire pickup Nicolas Aube-Kubel nailed the 23-year-old defender with a hard, illegal check to the head. Aube-Kubel was suspended three games by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for the hit. Foote played just five minutes in the game and did not return to action after the play.
Cooper declined to elaborate much on Foote’s status, simply saying that he’d be out “day-to-day”. Cooper said that Cernak is “day-to-day” as well and will not play Sunday.
The concerns with Cernak and Sergachev came on the same Capitals power play in which both blueliners blocked Alex Ovechkin one-timers. Cernak got the worst of it as Ovi fired the puck off the back of his ankle at the top of his skate. Sergachev, luckily, blocked his shot higher up on his body where there is slightly more protection.
While the injuries stung the Lightning, the fact the team was blown out in DC definitely didn’t help matters. The quick turnaround against the same Caps team is something they think will be an advantage.
“I think [the quick turnaround] is actually better,” Cooper said. “It’s fresh, pre scout doesn’t have to change. It’s like a playoff series. See how the first one went and now make a few adjustments and go from there. I think it’s good for us that we’re playing them again. Maybe it’s good for them too. They’re probably confident after that one.”
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