The Tampa Bay Lightning are already down top-line forward Steven Stamkos and defenseman Anton Stralman. Neither player is expected to be available during the Stanley Cup quarterfinal series against the Detroit Red Wings. Now they’ll have to finish Game 2 without bottom-six forward J.T. Brown.
Tampa announced the injury on their official Twitter.
#TBLightning forward J.T. Brown has sustained an upper body injury and will not return to tonight’s game. #TBLvsDET
— #GoBolts (@TBLightning) April 16, 2016
Brown went down to block a shot early on in the first period, and appeared to be struck on the inside of his knee. He gingerly skated to the bench, where Tampa Bay trainer Tom Mulligan spoke with him for a few moments. After their chat, Brown went back to the locker room and didn’t come back in the first period.
Now the Lightning will need to shake up their lines for the remainder of this contest, and their penalty kill could take a bit of a hit.
Brown isn’t a prolific scorer like Stamkos, but he’s an important part of the Tampa Bay team. The 25-year-old is a sound defensive player and is a key cog on the squad’s penalty kill. Replacing him on the fly will be difficult for head coach Jon Cooper tries to coach his team out to a 2-0 lead over the Red Wings.
It’s unclear at this juncture just how much time Brown will miss with the injury. We’ll update this post if more information becomes available following the contest.
This is a tough blow for the Lightning. They haven’t missed a beat so far in the second period, but if the Red Wings stack up a few power plays it could cause issues. Tampa could potentially be missing three key players for Game 3–Stamkos, Stralman and Brown. They’ve already called on Jonathan Drouin to shore up the offense, and they may need to dig a little deeper into their organizational depth to handle the loss of Brown.