Despite the positives from Tampa Bay's 7-3 thrashing of the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena Thursday, one scary moment occurred early in the second period when forwards Yanni Gourde and Mathieu Joseph collided going for a puck along the wall.
Joseph took the brunt of the impact. He sat dazed on the ice for a second immediately after the hit before rolling over in pain, his face buried in his gloves.
Gourde stood over his teammate with a look of concern, which turned to relief once Joseph rose to his feet and skated off to the bench without assistance.
The hit could have been worse, particularly if Joseph's head was the point of contact. Fortunately, the only damage was a cut to Joseph's nose from Gourde's visor.
"Hardest hit of the night, "Lightning head coach Jon Cooper joked a day later following his team's practice session at the Bell Sensplex in the Ottawa suburbs. "Mathieu definitely took the worst of it. On the serious side of it, you're always nervous about those because anytime players on the same team hit each other, they're definitely not expecting it and that's when guys tend to potentially get hurt. No internal injuries but external for sure."
So how exactly did Gourde and Joseph not see each other? Who was at fault for the collision?
We'll let Gourde explain.
"I don't know, the puck was coming up and I saw Jo coming, so I thought, 'I'm just going to get it off the wall for him to take it in the middle of the ice and start skating,'" Gourde said. "And the ref is right there. I tried taking the puck out and just putting it in the middle of the ice and Jo for some reason just takes me out. Obviously, he didn't want to kill me but he's skating with speed, so he's probably like, 'Oh, if I brace, I'm going destroy him.' And I wasn't bracing, but it just happened like that.
"It's so embarrassing."
Joseph, naturally, had a different take on the incident.
"Everyone knows he has no vision," Joseph said. "He didn't see me coming. We had a fight in the room before the game, so he just wanted to kill me. We're even now though."
"Yeah, I braced so I wanted to make sure he wasn't getting up," Gourde replied facetiously. "He actually got up. I was so pissed."
Video: Gourde and Joseph explain collision
Once Joseph got back to the bench, Gourde sat next to his linemate and buddy to make sure there were no hard feelings.
"I was like, 'Are you okay?'" Gourde said. "Obviously, it hurt. His nose was bleeding. I felt terrible. I felt bad until I saw the play and was like, 'Jo, that's all your fault, honestly.' But, it's all fun today. We laughed about it."
After watching the replay of the hit, has it been determined who hit who?
"I think we both hit each other," Joseph said. "I didn't want to hurt him too because I was coming with a lot of speed. I tried to protect myself and not finishing on him either. I absorbed most of the hit, but I think it hurt him a little bit. We both took it like a man, I think. I couldn't see though because of my nose."
Joseph said the scariest part about the collision was he couldn't see when he went down initially because his eyes started watering from his nose getting smashed.
"It hurt," he said. "To be honest, it did not feel great. I couldn't really see much because of the water in my eyes, crying instantly. I was worried for a sec, but I feel good, I feel normal."
Joseph's teammates on the bench were concerned for the second-year forward.
Until they realized he was fine.
"At first they were like, 'Are you okay? Are you okay?'" Joseph said. "And then after they were dying laughing."
The Lightning were all smiles on their bench during their rout of the Atlantic Division rival Leafs for their first road win of the season.
Joseph and Gourde's mishap provided a few more.