Bolts’ Brown exits with upper-body injury, won’t return

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An otherwise good opening period for Tampa ended on a down note as, during the first intermission, the team announced J.T. Brown suffered an upper-body injury, and wouldn’t return.

Brown was hurt blocking a shot early in the contest, and quickly skated to the bench in discomfort. He played just 2:29 before being ruled out entirely.

A hard-working, physical presence at forward, Brown had a nice year for the Bolts, posting career highs in games played (78), goals (eight), points (22) and average TOI (13:22). He also led the club in penalty minutes, with 59.

Brown had cemented his spot as a regular during last year’s playoffs, when he played in 24 of Tampa’s 26 playoff games — so, if he’s out for any length of time, his absence will be noticeable.

Tampa Bay is already dealing with injuries to captain Steve Stamkos (vascular surgery) and Anton Stralman (broken leg).

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