Tampa Bay Lightning All-Star defenseman Victor Hedman had to leave the Bolts' game at AMALIE Arena against Calgary midway through the second period on Thursday after taking a knee-to-knee hit from the Flames' Garnet Hathaway.
The team announced on Friday afternoon that the defenseman will miss 3-6 weeks with the injury.
Hedman, who was selected for his second-straight All-Star Game on Wednesday, needed help as he headed toward the Lightning locker room.
Video: CGY@TBL: Hedman leaves game with lower-body injury
Hedman led Atlantic Division defensemen and ranking third among all NHL blueliners for scoring with 33 points on six goals and 27 assists entering Thursday's game. The 27-year-old Swede had points in 11 of his last 14 games (4-12-16) coming into Thursday.
Since December 1, Hedman was plus-22 and overtook teammate Anton Stralman for the NHL lead for plus/minus at plus-24.
Hedman is the Lightning time on ice leader, averaging 25:56 a game, and ranks sixth in the NHL for ice time.
Hedman has yet to miss a game this season for Tampa Bay.
At least for now, it looks like the Lightning will have to learn how to win without him.
If there's a silver lining, Hedman also missed a month-long stretch of the season in 2014-15, and the Lightning were able to persevere in his absence.
Hopefully, history doesn't repeat itself and Hedman is able to return in a relatively short amount of time.
"Often how Heddy goes is how we go," Cooper said. "We have some elite players on this team, but on the back end, he's kind of our rock back there. He plays nearly half the game in all situations. He can help dictate a lot of the play of how we're doing things. It's not like we haven't lost him before. I guess the big worry would be if it's long term, but, again, it's hard to say…If he's out for a bit, it would probably have a little impact on our team."