Tampa Bay’s Mitchell Stephens Out With Leg Injury

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During the Saturday afternoon, Tampa Bay Lightning game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, forward Mitchell Stephens was injured during play. In a board battle behind the play, Stephens got tied up with Mikhail Grigorenko and David Savard when his leg got tangled up between them both. Lightning defenceman Erik Cernak is also out with an upper-body injury.

Stephens, Cernak Out With Injuries

Stephens never returned to the ice after taking a fall during his board battle. He was helped off the ice by some trainers and nursing the leg he had fallen on. So far this season Stephens has appeared in four games and grabbed one assist. Last season with Tampa he split time between the NHL and their AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch. In 38 NHL games last year he grabbed three goals and three assists for six totals points. He was with the team during their playoff run, too, where he grabbed one goal in his seven appearances in the bubble.

Cernak is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury that he sustained during the first period of the same game. Similar to his teammate, Cernak had also fallen awkwardly into the boards. He also was taken into the team’s dressing room and didn’t return to play. This season with the team the young blueliner has appeared in four games and tallied one assist on the year. Last season with the team he played 67 games and grabbed five goals and seven assists for 12 points.

What This Means for the Team

Neither player is likely to be available for the team’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday evening. Although both players are replaceable, having NHL talent against one of their opponents this season is key. In replacement of Cernak is young defenceman Callan Foote who has played in two games this season. Replacing Stephens in the forward group is likely 26-year-old Gemel Smith, a former fourth-round draft pick by the Dallas Stars.

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