The Tampa Bay Lightning might be hobbling into the playoffs a bit, but one big, important player is back on Thursday night. Victor Hedman will play against the New Jersey Devils tonight, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith.
Hedman is returning from his second troublesome injury of the 2014-15 season, as he’s been sidelined since March 30.
The Lightning have done an admirable job putting together wins even with significant injuries seemingly occurring left and right. Getting Hedman back – maybe even getting both of Tampa Bay’s remaining two games under his belt, depending upon how things shake out – is almost as enormous as the sizable Swede.
Tampa Bay needs some help in chasing Montreal for the Atlantic Division crown. The Habs face the hungry Detroit Red Wings without Tom Gilbert tonight because of an upper-body injury, so consider that another advantage for the Lightning.
The Montreal Canadiens struck first on trade deadline day by acquiring defenseman Jeff Petry from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a 2015 second-round selection and a conditional 2015 fifth-round pick.
That second pick will become a fourth rounder if Montreal wins its first-round series and a third-rounder if the Canadiens make it to the Eastern Conference Final, according to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman.
Petry is being brought in after blueliner Alexei Emelin sustained a shoulder injury on Feb. 18 that might keep him on the sidelines for another couple weeks. Once Emelin`s healthy, Montreal will have a deep defensive group that also includes Sergei Gonchar and Tom Gilbert and is led by P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov.
Petry has four goals and 15 points in 59 contests and has logged 20:57 minutes per game with Edmonton in 2014-15. The 27-year-old has been used in both power play and penalty killing situations. He also ranks near the bottom of the league with a minus-25 rating and Edmonton`s Fenwick percentage is roughly the same when he`s on or off the ice.
He`s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The defenseman comes with a cap hit of just under $3.1 million annually.
I'm told there was no money retained in the Jeff Petry deal. #NHLTrade
Even on a night when a trade is the Columbus Blue Jackets’ biggest story, they still suffer from the theme of this season, as Brandon Dubinsky is once again injured.
He appeared to suffer the issue (labeled an upper-body injury) following a collision with Tom Gilbert right after scoring a goal. Dubinsky won’t return to tonight’s contest against the Montreal Canadiens, the Columbus Dispatch’s Shawn Mitchell reports.
Here’s that painful moment following his tally:
Dubinsky’s season has already been limited by injury issues, so this has to be frustrating for the versatile forward and his remarkably unlucky team.
Gonchar (upper body) addresses Clarkson hit: ‘Our game is rough enough’
Habs defenseman Sergei Gonchar skated with teammates for the first time today since being knocked out of a game versus Toronto on Feb. 14, and discussed the incident that sidelined him — a hit from David Clarkson that netted the Leafs forward a game misconduct.
“The hit was from behind,” Gonchar said, per the Habs website. “Our game is rough enough, you don’t have to come up with such a hit.
“Maybe his excuse is that he didn’t see me turning at the last moment, but at the same time we should respect each other more and maybe slow down when you see somebody turning your back.”
Here’s the hit in question:
Gonchar, 40, has been a nice pickup for the Habs since coming over from Dallas in mid-November, scoring 12 points in 38 games while averaging 18:37 TOI per night. He said he’s approaching his return on a day-by-day basis and, while he was wearing a non-contract jersey on Monday, has been medically cleared.
With both Gonchar and Alexei Emelin out, Montreal has been going with a seven-man unit of P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov, Tom Gilbert, Mike Weaver, Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi and Greg Pateryn.