The Tampa Bay Lightning have seen undersized top six center Tyler Johnson record an impressive four goals and 13 points in the first 10 games of the 2016 postseason – so while an injury to starting goaltender Ben Bishop could be the most devastating injury possible, one to Johnson certainly isn’t good news either.
The Lightning lost Johnson late in the first period of their first game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night, just under ten minutes after Bishop left the ice on a stretcher with an injury of his own.
While Johnson didn’t need a stretcher to get off himself, the forward – who put up 13 goals and 23 points through 26 postseason games last spring and looks on pace to outperform that this year – did need help getting off the ice after hitting the boards awkwardly, and put little to no weight on his right leg in the process. He then failed to return to the bench for the start of the second period for the Atlantic Division club, and hasn’t returned through the first six minutes of the second frame, either.
Undrafted at the NHL level, Johnson – a native of Spokane, Washington – has put up 70 goals and 166 points through 242 career NHL games. Combined with his impressive postseason numbers and an injury to fellow top six center Steven Stamkos for Tampa Bay, Johnson is one of the most important players the Lightning have; should he be out for an extended period of time, their offense will likely take a significant hit.
Update (5/13 @ 9:40 pm ET): Johnson has returned to action for the Lightning. We’ll keep this post updated with any further information about the injury.