The Tampa Bay Lightning have surged out of the gate in 2013, winning six of their first eight games, and sitting atop the Southeast Division. They appear to have dodged a potentially rough situation surrounding Vincent Lecavalier's latest ailment.
UPDATE: Monday, Feb. 4, at 10:16 a.m. ET by Brandon Galvin
---End of update---
Per the team's official Twitter account:
Lecavalier took a deflected puck to the foot on Saturday, which left a nasty bruise. Per his ESPN profile, the star center is expected to have an MRI on Sunday that will reveal more about his injury.
The injury, which appears to be minor rather than serious, could derail some of the early-season momentum Tampa Bay has worked hard to create. With Steven Stamkos in the fold (and becoming a dominant force), Lecavalier isn't counted on like he once was for the Lightning. But he's still one of the team's most important skaters, and his absence would still be palpable.
Lecavalier has 11 points in the Lightning's eight games this season, four goals and seven assists. He ranks fourth on Tampa Bay's roster in that respect, and seventh with an average of 17:30 spent on the ice per night.
If it wants to maintain its buffer over Winnipeg in the Southeast Division, Tampa Bay's other stars will need to pick up the slack (even more than usual). Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis continue to be two of the best scorers in all of hockey, but they'll need to carry the load even more should their captain miss time.
If the bruise turns out to be minor, though, look for the Lightning to continue surging.