WASHINGTON — After taking a slap shot from Washington's Mike Green off the side of his face, Lightning C Nate Thompson said the best decision he ever made was to wear a visor.
Thompson said he is sure the visor, shattered by the impact of the puck, saved him from worse damage than the eight stitches he received over his black-and-blue right eye. The visor did scratch his face, but that was a small price to pay.
"Pretty scary," Thompson said. "I'm happy I put on that visor a couple of years ago, that's for sure."
Thompson, hit 7:50 into Saturday's game, rejoined the team to start the second period but left midway through the period and did not return. Thompson, who said he was put through the concussion protocol before he re-entered the game, did not acknowledge any symptoms after the game, saying only, "Just re-evaluate me (today) and go from there. I should be okay."
It was a scary scene as Thompson, with a bloody face, got up and skated off the ice under his own power. Green immediately skated over to offer apologies.
"I just went down like I usually do to block a shot," Thompson said. "I think the puck was rolling on him and popped up on him. I didn't have time to react. …
"When I originally went down, I got that first bit of shock, a little scared. I realized I was okay and that's why I forced myself to get up and skate off the ice."
"I had to turn my head when I saw it," teammate Teddy Purcell said. "Nate's a warrior and he's been blocking shots his whole career. He's a fearless player. It was a tough-looking play."
HEDMAN RETURNS: D Victor Hedman, who missed four games with a lower-body injury, was in the lineup against the Capitals, saying he is "100 percent and ready to go." Hedman entered Saturday with four goals, 16 points in 36 games and, more important, averaging 22:22 of ice time, second on the team. "It's going to be a lot of fun getting back into the lineup," he said before the game. "I've been skating hard and feel good. It's up to me to prove that I'm ready to play the minutes I've been playing."
MORE INJURIES: Pierre-Cedric Labrie sat out against the Capitals. The right wing Thursday against the Penguins aggravated the upper-body injury that kept him out six games from March 26-April 7. … Cooper said G Anders Lindback (ankle) is not ready, so Mathieu Garon, who has not played since an April 2 shootout loss to the Panthers, will start today at Buffalo.
HAPPY RETURNS: Lightning forwards Tom Pyatt and Ben Pouliot were back in the lineup Saturday after a surprising two straight games in which both were scratched.
MILESTONE: D Sami Salo played his 800th NHL game, especially significant given an injury-plagued career.
Salo, 38, has missed only two of 41 games this season because of a lower-body injury.
"It's been fine for me," he said of the compressed schedule. "It would be different if you played 82 games like this. You get a lot of bumps and bruises, and you don't get a lot of time to recover."
ODDS AND ENDS: The Capitals have won seven straight. … RW Marty St. Louis is tied for the league lead with 41 assists. … D Mark Barberio was scratched.