An examination by a Buffalo eye doctor revealed Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier didn't suffer any structural damage to his right eye when he was hit in the face by a stick in Sunday's game against the Chicago Blackhawks, the team said in a statement released Monday.
As a result, Lightning coach Guy Boucher told reporters Tuesday morning that Lecavalier is expected to play against the Sabres at HSBC Arena.
Tampa Bay beat Chicago 2-0 on Sunday with Lecavalier's power-play goal at 7:56 of the first period proving decisive. He was injured when Michael Frolik's stick struck him in the eye 4:42 into the second. Frolik received a double minor for high-sticking.
"I'm always concerned when it's your captain and he's been playing incredible the last two months,"Boucher said after the game Sunday. "He's been driving physically and been a real inspiration for the players."
Lecavalier asked to return to the game against the Blackhawks, but he was rebuffed.
The fact he couldn't see out of his eye -- which appeared to get clipped by the stick blade -- kept him out. Lecavalier also was cut on the play.
"He wanted to come back," Boucher said. "I was real impressed by him trying to come back. He knew we were short-staffed. First words he said: 'You don't have enough guys. I've got to stay.' (I said), 'You can't see.' So I took him out."
Lecavalier has missed 17 games with injuries this season, including 15 in a row from Nov. 12 to Dec. 15.
I challenged him to a goalie fight when we chatted before the game, but he didn't want to go. It was strange to see him at the other end of the ice, but I'm sure he felt the same way looking down at our end.
— Vancouver goalie Eddie Lack joking about facing his former teammate Roberto Luongo after the Canucks' win against the Panthers