Tyler Johnson, Namestnikov hurt against Wild
Steven Stamkos ready yet?
The Lightning could really use the All-Star center even more now after Thursday, when center Tyler Johnson and Vladislav Namestnikov left the game with lower body injuries.
Neither looked good, with both Johnson and Namestnikov having to get helped off the ice by teammates within five minutes from each other in the second period. The Lightning announced neither would return tonight, their status going forward.
Namestnikov got tangled up with the Wild's Zach Parise near the right boards, and clutched his left leg in pain as he crumpled to the ice. Then, five minutes later, Johnson got hit into the boards by Nino Niederreiter and remained down on the ice for a minute. Once again, head athletic trainer Tommy Mulligan came out and Johnson was helped off, not putting any pressure on his left leg.
For a Lightning team that is already without Stamkos (knee surgery), and traded two veteran centers at last week's trade deadline (Brian Boyle, Valtteri Filppula), these injuries - specifically Johnson's - would be a huge blow in a playoff push. Stamkos will hit the four month mark in his four-to-six month recovery next week, and while he continues to skate, there's no definitive return date.
Rookie Brayden Point moved up to No. 1 center after the injuries, and Jonathan Drouin played some center, too. Expect a center or two to potentially get recalled from AHL Syracuse, like Matthew Peca or Cory Conacher.
More to come.