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Mikhail Sergachev leaves Lightning game on stretcher
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

Tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning were counting on the return of an important player to the lineup, as Mikhail Sergachev played his first game since December 19. The defenseman had missed his team’s previous 17 games with a lower-body injury.

And with the Lightning in the midst of a fierce Eastern battle for a playoff spot, the Russian’s return was bound to help.

Unfortunately, the defenseman’s return was short-lived, as he suffered a serious injury following a collision with Alexis Lafrenière along the boards.

Sergachev was forced to leave on a stretcher, in tears… and poor Lafrenière, who did nothing wrong (it really was a silly accident), was in a state of shock.

Here’s a replay of the sequence, if you’d like to see it. Sensitive hearts abstain, though: it looks like a pretty serious injury to the left knee. It’s not clear whether Lafrenière’s skate hit the back of Sergachev’s knee, but either way, there’s cause for concern.

At least, the defenseman was able to give the crowd a thumbs up as he left the ice. In fact, the crowd gave him a nice dose of love, even though the game was in New York and not Tampa Bay.

That’s something… but we still fear a serious injury.

I really hope poor Lafrenière won’t be the target of criticism as a result of all this. We agree that this is very, very far from being a vicious gesture or one with any ill intent: it could have happened to anyone.

He’s already having to deal with all this on his conscience, so now’s not the time to add to it with criticism (which, frankly, wouldn’t even be justifiable).

Let’s also hope for the defender’s sake that he avoided the worst, but there are reasons to believe that this is a major injury. I hope his ligaments are intact and that he avoided a Kirby Dach injury… but unfortunately, that’s a scenario that’s on the table right now.

We’ll keep you posted in the coming hours, but it’s a worrying scene for the Lightning tonight. Let’s wish the defenseman all the best from now on.

In bursts

– In Slovakia, all Martin St-Louis’ quotes about Juraj Slafkovský are analyzed. Nothing less.

– A Habs scout attends tonight’s Stars-Maple Leafs game.

– Great read.

– Interesting.

– Too bad.

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