Mattias Ohlund will miss at least two weeks with inflammation in right knee

mattohlundinjured.jpgTough news out of Tampa Bay this morning: the Lightning announced that veteran defenseman Mattias Ohlund will miss at least two weeks after aggravating a knee injury that required surgery this off-season. Damian Cristodero has the news.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund will be out at least two weeks with inflammation in his right knee, GM Steve Yzerman said. Captain Vinny Lecavalier also missed Monday’s practice with a foot contusion sustained Saturday against the Panthers. It is not considered serious. As for Ohlund it is the same knee on which Ohlund was scoped during the summer. Yzerman said Ohlund had an MRI exam on Sunday that revealed the irritation. Ohlund also has fluid on the knee. Yzerman said no other decisions on treatments will be made until it is seen how the knee reacts to rest. The good news for Tampa Bay is defenseman Randy Jones (finger) is back at practice, giving the team eight healthy blueliners. The team must decide whether to go with seven or eight defensemen by 3 p.m. Wednesday, when the 23-man rosters must be submitted to the league.

The 34-year-old defenseman’s knee issues must be a worry to GM Steve Yzerman and the Lightning brass in general. Only Vincent Lecavalier owns a longer term contract with Tampa Bay, as Ohlund’s deal runs all the way through the 2015-16 season and costs an annual salary cap hit of $3.067 million according to CapGeek.com.

It’s natural to wonder if Yzerman & Co. are hoping they can buy Ohlund out or send him to the minors at some point. While his slightly above $3 million cap hit is far from an abomination, it might become quite cumbersome as the team deals with current contracts for Lecavalier and St. Louis while trying to retain Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman and possibly Simon Gagne.

As Cristodero noted, the Lightning have some depth-based decisions to make and could elect to go with eight defensemen in order to give themselves options while Ohlund is out.

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    WATCH LIVE: Canadiens at Sharks

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    It’s been a difficult start to the season for both the San Jose Sharks and Montreal Canadiens, however both clubs have an opportunity to change that beginning tonight.

    The Sharks host the Habs and you can catch the action on NBCSN (10:30 p.m. ET) or via the live stream.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

    Rangers, Sharks need to wake up from early slumps

    Canadiens looking to spark, not ‘bury’ Alex Galchenyuk after move to fourth line

    It’s early but the Habs are struggling to find the back of the net

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    Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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    Video: Nolan Patrick’s sweet drop pass sets up Dale Weise

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    That was quite the second period for the Philadelphia Flyers against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

    The Flyers scored four straight goals to take a commanding lead, but Nolan Patrick put the exclamation point on the frenzied frame with this sweet drop pass to set up Dale Weise for Philadelphia’s fourth goal.

    That’s the second assist and third point of the season for the 19-year-old Patrick.

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    Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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    WATCH LIVE: Lightning at Devils

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning visit the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, in a match-up of the early season Atlantic and Metropolitan division leaders.

    It shouldn’t really surprise anyone to see the Lightning, with Steven Stamkos in their lineup, among the higher scoring teams so far. The Devils, on the other hand, have enjoyed a great start to their season and are currently third in the league with 4.20 goals-for per game. You can check out tonight’s game on NBCSN (7:30 p.m. PT) or online via the live stream.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

    The Buzzer: Nikita Kucherov just keeps scoring goals

    Kucherov’s star continues to rise, Stamkos sharp as Lightning beat Penguins

    ‘Fun to watch’ Devils rookie Jesper Bratt off to hot start

    Hischier ‘played his way’ into top-six role with Devils

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    Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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    Test your might: Buckle up for fascinating night in NHL

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    With 11 games on the schedule and a doubleheader on NBCSN, Tuesday provides a veritable buffet for hockey fans.

    That volume opens up opportunities, such as getting closer to seeing where the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers really are at, and which one of the struggling San Jose Sharks and Montreal Canadiens can get their second win of the season (note: Montreal at San Jose closes off that NBCSN doubleheader).

    It says a lot that a Penguins – Rangers game is intriguing, but not necessarily headline-grabbing.

    Oh yeah, and we also get to see how the stubborn Ottawa Senators look now that Erik Karlsson is returning to lineup. There’s really something for everyone tonight.

    For the sake of brevity, let’s limit this to four games that should be especially fascinating on Tuesday.

    Toronto Maple Leafs at Washington Capitals

    Remember that fantastic first-round series? The one that ended up being uncomfortably close for the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Caps?

    Tuesday could be another thriller, as Alex Ovechkin‘s off to a heck of a start for the up-and-down Capitals (3-2-1), who host the dumb, fun Maple Leafs (4-1-0). It says a lot that, despite only playing five games, Toronto leads the NHL with 26 goals scored. Ovechkin vs. Auston Matthews is rarely not a fun time, in general.

    This game may answer some questions, including: “How long can Mike Babcock really push Mitch Marner down the lineup?”

    Tampa Bay Lightning at New Jersey Devils

    These aren’t your older brother’s boring Devils, but this is increasingly looking like your older brother’s very good Lightning.

    Anyway, Tampa Bay (5-1-0) already beat a surprisingly hot Red Wings team on Monday, and now they look to cool off another dark horse in the Devils (4-1-0).

    Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos are doing their usual suspects act for the Lightning, while the Devils are off to the sort of start that has made them one of the most entertaining teams of this early season. It’s not just obvious guys like Taylor Hall or even 2017 top pick Nico Hischier, either, as Will Butcher already has eight assists and Jesper Bratt is currently second on NJ in scoring.

    Tampa Bay is closing off a back-to-back, which might make it tougher for them to keep up with this young team in Newark.

    This potential barnburner begins NBCSN’s doubleheader at 7:30 p.m. ET. To watch the game online, click here.

    MORE: Full preview for Lightning – Devils, Canadiens – Sharks

    Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators

    Nashville isn’t too impressive just yet with a 2-2-1 record, but do note that they’re 2-0-1 in their last three games. They’re also getting a chance to eye Matt Duchene, whose feelings might not be totally soothed even though the Avs are off to a 4-2-0 start.

    This one stands as an interesting test for the upstart Avalanche, but the Duchene angle might be most interesting. Is he facing his future team here? Could the two squads pull a “Moneyball” and have him change locker rooms tonight? (OK, that’s probably going too far.)

    Columbus Blue Jackets at Winnipeg Jets

    John Tortorella’s loaded, “safe equals death” group featuring the likes of Zach Werenski versus the ridiculously loaded Jets (Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, Mark Scheifele, so much more)? Yes, please.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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