Down by four goals at one point of last night’s 6-5 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals, the Tampa Bay Lightning were fortunate to leave the Verizon Center with an important point in the standings.
One of its players, however, perhaps was even more lucky.
After taking a powerful slap shot to the face from Capitals defenseman Mike Green, Lightning forward Nate Thompson skated off under his own power to the bench, where he was immediately attended to by the team’s medical staff to assess damage to his right eye.
That might not have been possible, however, had Thompson not been wearing the shield that absorbed much of the impact and actually shattered, leaving the forward with just a small laceration.
The visor likely allowed Thompson to not only rise from his feet and skate off of the ice without much assistance from teammates, but it also probably prevented him from sustaining more severe, and maybe even permanent, damage than just a bloodied face and eight stitches above the eye.
The incident occurred 7:50 into the first period of Saturday's game, and although Thompson returned briefly for a few shifts in the second frame, he was taken out of the contest shortly thereafter for precautionary reasons.
Thompson was put through concussion protocol before he re-entered the game, but reportedly did not acknowledge any symptoms after the game.
On Sunday morning, Thompson Tweeted: “Thank you everybody for the kind words last night. It was a scary moment but I'm okay. #VisorGotTheWorst.”
Even so, Thompson will not play in tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center because of precautionary reasons, as JT Wyman will instead take his place after being recalled from Syracuse of the American Hockey League earlier today.
As for Thompson, he will continue to be evaluated.