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Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman is back on the ice during Thursday practice in preparation for the start of the playoffs.
The defenseman didn’t want to talk about the nature of his injury, but said he plans to play through it.
Tampa Bay faces cross-state rival Florida Panthers for the first time in the postseason.
Thanks to realigned divisions, the teams met eight times this year (Florida with the 5-3 edge) and are set for a Round 1 playoff matchup.
John Romano | It’s no big deal that Tampa Bay stumbled across the regular season finish line, but it is concerning that a lot of players have been hanging out with doctors.

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  1. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman is back on the ice during Thursday practice in preparation for the start of the playoffs.
  2. Lightning defenseman Luke Schenn, left, passes the puck as Panthers left wing Ryan Lomberg, right, defends during the second period of May 10 game in Sunrise. The teams meet again on Sunday in the playoffs.
  3. Panthers center Aleksander Barkov beats Lightning goaltender Curtis McElhinney with Jan Rutta defending during the second period of a Feb. 15 game at Amalie Arena.
  4. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman has not been the same player since going into the boards against Columbus on March 30 and needing help to get off the ice.
  5. Defenseman Victor Hedman (77) and the Lightning will face the cross-state Florida Panthers in the opening round of the NHL playoffs.
  6. Lightning players Gemel Smith, Daniel Walcott and Mathieu Joseph made up what is believed to be the first starting forward line made up entirely of Black players when they started Monday's road game against the Florida Panthers.
  7. Florida Panthers right wing Juho Lammikko (83) reacts after scoring a goal against Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) during the second period.
  8. Lightning forward Barclay Goodrow and the Panthers' Brandon Montour were in the middle of a lot of pushing and shoving in Saturday's game. Both players are out for tonight's regular-season finale.
  9. Lightning center Steven Stamkos is this year’s Lightning nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded each season to a player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to the game.
  10. The Lightning's Pat Maroon fights with the Panthers' Brandon Montour in the third period Saturday night at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.
  11. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Luke Schenn loses his helmet during a brawl with Florida Panthers left wing Ryan Lomberg during the second period Saturday night in Sunrise.
  12. While at Columbus, John Tortorella led the Blue Jackets to four straight playoff appearances after the team qualified for the postseason just twice in its first 15 seasons.
  13. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) reacts after allowing a fourth goal by the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game on Saturday, May 8, 2021, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Mary Holt)
  14. Lightning center Blake Coleman, right, celebrates with center Yanni Gourde and defenseman Victor Hedman after he scored a goal during second-period action at Amalie Arena on Friday.
  15. The Dallas Stars celebrate their goal making the score 5-1 as Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Curtis McElhinney (35) remains down in the net during third period action at Amalie Arena on Friday, May 7, 2021 in Tampa.
  16. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos skates in practice for the first time in nearly a month on Tuesday, a major step in his return from injury.
  17. Fans cheer while socially distanced as Lightning players celebrate an empty-net goal by left wing Ross Colton (79) during the third period of Wednesday's win over the Stars in Tampa. Lightning increasing Amalie Arena capacity to 7,000 fans for first playoff round.
  18. Washington Capitals and New York Rangers fight in the opening seconds of an game Wednesday in New York.
  19. Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9), left, celebrates his first-period goal with center Anthony Cirelli (71) Wednesday at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  20. The Washington Capitals' Garnet Hathaway (21) fights with New York Rangers' Phillip Di Giuseppe (33) during the first period Wednesday in New York.
  21. Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) shakes off Dallas Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen (4) and beats goaltender Jake Oettinger (29) to score a goal as the Lightning go up 2-1 during second period action at Amalie Arena on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in Tampa.
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