Friday, April 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Mikkelson day-to-day after crash

TAMPA — Brendan Mikkelson said he "dodged a bullet" when he crashed head- and shoulder-first into the end boards during Thursday's practice.

The Lightning defenseman said Friday that he was unconscious "for a few seconds" and woke "gasping for breath" with the wind knocked out of him. Even so, Mikkelson said, X-rays and a CT scan at Tampa General Hospital were negative and he had no headaches.

He is day-to-day with an unspecified injury. Mikkelson indicated he has right-shoulder and neck stiffness.

"The guys told me it was pretty solid," Mikkelson, 25, said of his slide into the boards.

It happened after a Marty St. Louis dump-in of the puck.

"I knew it was (Steven Stamkos) beside me, so I knew I would have to get on my horse if I was going to beat him to the puck," Mikkelson said. "I just skated as hard as I could. I don't know if our feet got tangled or I just straight out blew a tire."

Whatever happened, Mikkelson, scratched in six of seven games, said he had never hit the boards that hard.

"It wasn't looking good," coach Guy Boucher said. "We crossed our fingers and got lucky."

BAD HIT: D Sami Salo missed the final 7:49 of the first period of the 8-3 win against the Jets after he was checked from behind face-first into the side glass by Winnipeg's Chris Thorburn. The right wing received a five-minute major for hitting from behind, during which Tampa Bay scored twice, and a game misconduct.

Salo returned for the second period and played 17:56 in the game, 3:18 less than his average.

"Just a little bang-up," said Salo, who apparently sustained only a minor lip cut. "You know, in the heat of the moment you can't always put the breaks on. A little unfortunate but not a big deal."

Asked if he had a problem with the hit, Boucher said he did not see it. "A five-minute power play, there's no problem for me there," he said. "He came back to play. If he didn't come back to play, I would have had a problem without seeing it."

LEADERS: Stamkos has five goals, nine assists in a seven-game points streak tied for the league lead. His assists in seven straight games also are tied for the lead. … RW Cory Conacher leads all rookies with 12 points, seven assists and at plus-8. He is tied for the lead with five goals and leads with a 41.7 shooting percentage (five goals on 12 shots). … Salo leads the league at plus-11. D Victor Hedman is second at plus-10, and Conacher is fourth at plus-8.

GIVING IT AWAY: For as much offense as St. Louis has produced, the right wing leads the league with 12 giveaways. The team entered Friday tied for 14th with 51. "As the season goes on, these guys will manage (the puck) better," Boucher said. "I'm not worried."

HELPING: Bucs WR Vincent Jackson, through his Jackson in Action 83 Foundation, provided about 2,000 tickets to the game to various Tampa Bay military groups.

ODDS AND ENDS: The Rocket Richard Trophy — given to the league's top goal scorer, Stamkos last season — was on display. … Julianna Zobrist, wife of the Rays' Ben Zobrist, will sing the national anthem before tonight's game against the Rangers. … D Marc-Andre Bergeron and RW Pierre-Cedric Labrie also were scratched.

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