Maneuvering unusual back-to-back situations Hedman hurt in collision with ref
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Back-to-back games are common in the NHL, but it’s still not often that a team finds itself in a triangle of them the way the Lightning did this weekend.
Tampa Bay played at the Sabres on Saturday and at the Islanders on Sunday. Buffalo was in the second game of its own back-to-back, having played at Carolina on Friday, and the Islanders were in the same boat after playing the Rangers on Saturday.
The Lightning had the worst of it, having traveled from Buffalo to Brooklyn after Saturday’s game. The Islanders had a matinee at home at the Barclays Center on Saturday.
Tampa Bay had been weirdly successful in the second half of back-to-backs, 3-1-0 before Sunday’s 5-1 loss. Granted, the Lightning has been weirdly successful in general, on pace for 131 points, which would tie the 1995-96 Red Wings for second most in NHL history. But to be that in second game of back-to-backs is impressive.
F Mathieu Joseph, one year removed from the AHL, said that league’s three-games-in-three-days being even tougher mentally with long bus rides involved.
“Back-to-backs are different,” he said. “The game is faster (in the NHL). But still, I’m glad there are no more three-in-threes.”
Victor Hedman ran into a referee in the second period and did not return to the game.
He was looking toward the play as he skated in the opposite direction. The referee was skating backward toward Hedman, and the two collided.
Coach Jon Cooper did not have an update on Hedman’s status after the game but said Hedman did not go through concussion protocol.
Sitting on the bench after the collision, Hedman gestured toward his left eye. His face was red and puffy, but there was no visible bleeding on the TV broadcast.
“It was kind of a freak, fluke play,” D Ryan McDonagh said.