ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- With time winding down against the Rangers, trailing 3-2 on Saturday night, Sammy Salo ripped a desperation slapshot that never made it to the net. New York celebrated, and the Lightning watched as their captain collapsed to the ground in agony.
Salo's shot deflected off a defender's skate and careened into Vinny Lecavalier's left ankle. The puck sent the Lightning's leader to his knees. He needed help getting off the ice.
Monday morning, at the team's final practice before leaving on a four-game road trip that begins Tuesday night in Philadelphia, Lecavalier did not skate with his teammates, who are hoping to see No. 4 back out on the ice with them when Tampa Bay faces the Flyers.
"Hopefully he's going to be fine and able to play, but you know it was tough to see him take that puck there in the end," said center Dana Tyrell. "He's a strong guy. He's our captain. He's our leader, so, we expected him to play and I'm sure he'll be there for us."
Head coach Guy Boucher didn't have as much to say on the matter, but did say we can expect to see Vinny in skates Tuesday night.
"He'll play," Boucher said with a chuckle.
Lecavalier has four goals this season and helped the Lightning jump out to the league lead in goals scored in the first few weeks of the season (39). Tampa Bay (12 points) leads the Southeast Division by five points over Winnipeg and only trails Boston (13) in the Eastern Conference heading into the week.