OTTAWA — The injury bug is finally catching up with the Lightning. Tampa Bay has been fortunate this season with few impactful injuries and the ones that have cropped up have been spread out.
Not in the final weeks of the season.
The Lightning added two more to the list on Monday: Victor Hedman and Louis Domingue.
Hedman is officially day-to-day, but Jon Cooper is doubtful Hedman will play in the final four games of the regular season. He is hopeful to have Hedman return for the playoffs.
A lingering lower-body issue has Domingue day-to-day. Cooper didn’t expand further asked if he might be available on this road trip.
Hedman left Saturday’s game after the first period. He took a helmet to the chin while delivering a hit. Cooper did not say if his injury is a concussion, repeating that it’s an “upper-body injury.” Previously, when Hedman collided with an official and took a helmet to the head, Cooper specified he was not going through concussion protocol.
Hedman does have a history of concussions. He missed one game in 2009 and then 13 games in the 2011-12 season.
He sat out seven games early this season with a shoulder injury, then missed another game in February with a lower-body injury.
For now. Cameron Gaunce will make his Lightning debut on Monday. Gaunce has played 32 NHL games in his nine-season professional career. He was paired with Jan Rutta at morning skate.
There is good news on the injury front, too.
Cooper expects Anton Strålman to return on this four-game trip and said there might be a Girardi sighting at the tail end.
Strålman has missed 11 games. He returned to practice this week. Girardi has missed 10 games, and hasn’t so much as practiced since March 7. So when he does return, he’ll need some skating to get game ready.