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Erik Cernak out tonight against Chicago

the Lightning announced Cernak is day-to-day with an upper-body injury

by Bryan Burns @BBurnsNHL /

The Tampa Bay Lightning will be without a key member of their blue line for tonight's contest at Chicago.

Erik Cernak will miss Thursday's game against the Blackhawks with an upper-body injury. The 23-year-old right shot defenseman is considered day-to-day.

The Lightning announced Cernak's injury as the team was taking warmups at the United Center prior to puck drop.

Cernak has four assists in 18 games this season, tied for fourth among Bolts' blueliners for helpers. He ranks fourth on Tampa Bay for average time on ice at 18:30 a game.

Cernak sustained a lower-body injury in the second period of Tampa Bay's 3-1 home win over the Carolina Hurricanes February 25 and did not return to that contest but didn't miss any games, suiting up two nights later for the final game in the Bolts' homestand February 27 versus Dallas, taking a team-high five shots in 20:49 of action.

Cernak missed two games earlier in the season January 28 and 30 due to an upper-body injury.

With Cernak out, veteran Luke Schenn draws back into the lineup for his first action since February 22 at Carolina.

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