This was not the result that the Lightning was hoping for in their final round-robin game against the Flyers.
The Lightning sleepwalked through the first period and was outshot 20-6 as the Flyers came out flying. No pun intended.
This was one of the worst periods that I have seen the Lightning play. They committed turnovers, were sloppy with the puck, and didn’t do much to cause Flyers goalie Carter Hart to break a sweat.
If not for the play of Andrei Vasilevskiy, this would have been a lot worse. The Flyers created numerous scoring chances and Vasilevskiy was left alone in front of the net.
The Lightning suffered a big blow early in the first period when Victor Hedman crumpled to the ice on a routine play.
Hedman was skating back when it looked as if his leg just gave out from under him. He was able to get off the ice under his power but was in a lot of pain.
After the game, Jon Cooper said that Jan Rutta was also not able to play. If the Lightning is without Stamkos, Hedman, and Rutta, it will be tough to win the Stanley Cup, let alone make a deep playoff run.
There was no word on the extent of Hedman’s injury. But the way Hedman was reacting it did not look good.
After the Hedman injury, the Lightning appeared to be shell shocked for a bit and took until the second period for them to find their game.
Ryan McDonagh and Mikhail Sergachev took most of the minutes after the Hedman injury. Each playing over 26 Minutes.
Kevin Shattenkirk and Eric Cernak also logged over 20 minutes of playing time.
Cooper talked about the injuries after the game “ We’ve dealt with injuries before. Our captain’s out. He’s been out for a long time, and it’s a little frustrating because it feels like we’re going in the right direction and to lose some of the star power we have. But that’s why you pick up guys at the deadline and you add depth to your team. You’ve got to circle the wagons and now prepare for Columbus or Toronto.”
Kevin Shattenkirk talked about the next man up mentality. “The guys who are coming into the lineup, we have total faith in them. This is what happens in the playoffs. You have to roll with the punches. It’s a tough job to fill, but we have to do it collectively. It’s not just going to be one person coming in and trying to emulate Victor Hedman. I think we all have to do it as a group. We’re all going to be asked to do a little bit more and we’re certainly ready for that.”
The Lightning played much better in the second and third periods outplaying the Flyers, but could only get one shot past Flyers goalie Carter Hart.
The Lightning outshot the Flyers 7-6 in the second period, and 11-4 in the third period.
Tyler Johnson had the lone Lightning goal, scoring at 5:21 of the second period that cut the lead to 2-1 at the time.
The Lightning controlled the play most of the third period, but could not get anything by Carter Hart.
The Lightning will await the results of the Toronto-Columbus game tonight. The Lightning will take on the winner of tonight’s game in a first-round playoff series.
But the bigger questions concerns the health of Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos.
We should hear something about Hedman’s status today. Stamkos could miss the first couple of games of the first-round playoff series as he is out indefinitely.