The Tampa Bay Lightning have found themselves shell shocked by the Columbus Blue Jackets in their first round playoff series in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs and in what has to feel like a must win game they are entering the contest severely handicapped.
As our readers will know arguably the Lightning's best player, forward Nikita Kucherov, will be out of the game this evening after he was suspended for one game by the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety. Now that in and of itself would be bad enough in a series where you are already down 2 - 0, but now the Lightning have lost another one of their best players.
According to a breaking news report from Bryan Burns of the NTampa Bay Lightning's official website, arguably Tampa Bay's very best defenseman Victor Hedman is missing from the pregame warmup and appears to have been replaced by veteran defenseman Braydon Coburn. There were reports that Hedman would be a game time decision for this game but it seems that decision has been made and the big man will be watching from the sidelines on Sunday night. This of course leaves the Lightning without their top offensive weapon and without their top defensive weapon in a must win game.
On the other side of the coin however this is a golden opportunity for the Columbus Blue Jackets to take a stranglehold on this series, a stranglehold that would have them well on their way to their first ever playoff series in in franchise history. It would almost certainly be one of the most shocking upsets in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.