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Cirelli considered week-to-week with an upper-body injury

Cirelli exited Thursday's game against the Panthers midway through the third period and did not return

by Bryan Burns @BBurnsNHL /

Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli will miss significant time with an upper-body injury the team announced during warmups prior to their game against the Florida Panthers Saturday night from the BB&T Center.

Cirelli is listed as week-to-week.

Cirelli was injured late in Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Panthers in Sunrise, the second-line center leaving the ice mid shift halfway through the third period and heading straight down the tunnel to the locker room. He wasn't able to return for the closing minutes of the game.

Following the contest, Lightning head coach Jon Cooper expressed concern about Cirelli's status, saying, in part, "It didn't look great when he came off."

Cirelli finished fourth in Selke Trophy voting last season and is regarded as one of the National Hockey League's young standout two-way centermen. The 23 year old has gotten off to a hot start offensively this season, pumping in four goals and six assists in 12 games, ranking fourth on the Lightning for scoring and tied for fourth for goals. Cirelli is also one of Tampa Bay's top penalty killers, leading all Lightning forwards for average shorthanded time on ice (2:46).

Cirelli joins a growing list of Lightning players currently injured.

Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, and Friday he was placed on the NHL's unavailable due to COVID protocol list.

Fourth line center Mitchell Stephens suffered a long-term lower-body injury January 23 at Columbus and is out indefinitely.

And, of course, the Bolts are without Nikita Kucherov for the entire regular season after the superstar right wing had offseason hip surgery. Kucherov won't be available until at least the playoffs should the Lightning qualify.

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