Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter
Tampa, FL, United States (4E Sports) – Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman suffered a non-displaced fracture of his left fibula in the first period of their 7-4 win over the New York Islanders Friday at Amalie Arena.
Stralman got tangled up with Islanders forward Anders Lee in front of the Tampa Bay net. Stralman’s foot appeared to get caught under him, and his leg bent awkwardly. He had to be helped off the ice and did not return.
“Nobody’s going to replace him,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “He is one of the top defenseman in this league, and he’s an extremely important part on our team not only on the ice but off the ice.”
Stralman , who is out indefinitely but will not need surgery, could return depending on how far the Lightning advance through the playoffs.
“His season is not over,” Cooper said. “The way we play defense as a group we should be OK.”
Tyler Johnson scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period as the Lightning moved back into first place in the Atlantic Division with a win over the Islanders.
Johnson broke a 4-4 tie by beating Thomas Greiss at 10:09 for his 13th goal of the season, and defenseman Jason Garrison scored 23 seconds later for a 6-4 lead. Victor Hedman hit the empty net with 1:25 remaining.
Tampa Bay (43-26-5) and the Florida Panthers each have 91 points with eight games remaining. The Lightning own the tiebreaker because they have 40 regulation/overtime victories to 34 for the Panthers. The teams play Saturday at Amalie Arena.
Nikita Kucherov , Vladislav Namestnikov , Steven Stamkos and Andrej Sustr also scored for Tampa Bay, and Ben Bishop made 27 saves.