St. Louis takes puck to eye in practice, out tonight vs. Rangers

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Tampa Bay Lightning winger Martin St. Louis’ streak of 499 consecutive games will be snapped after suffering an eye injury in today’s pregame skate.

Preparing for this evening’s contest against the Rangers, St. Louis was circling behind the net during a drill when teammate Dominic Moore hit him in the face with a backhanded shot. Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reports St. Louis left the ice bleeding (and “a little wobbly”) and proceeded to the NYU Medical Center for evaluation on his swollen eye.

Moments later, Paul Kennedy of Sun Sports confirmed St. Louis would be held out of tonight’s game. “Bad things happen at the worst time,” Lighting GM Steve Yzerman said.

It’s a brutal break for St. Louis. While he told Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times he didn’t know, think or want to talk about the streak, it was a hot topic around the team yesterday. St. Louis’ impressive run began on Nov. 15, 2005 and including playoffs, was at 528 games. Since missing 26 games in 2001-02 because of a broken leg, St. Louis, including playoffs, has played 749 of 751 games.

“I’m mind-boggled,” coach Guy Boucher said. “Take his minutes, take his size, take his age, it’s absolutely unreal.”

“He is,” teammate Victor Hedman said, “one of those warriors.”