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Global Series

Hedman returns for Lightning in Global Series against Sabres

Defenseman, out since Oct. 29 with lower-body injury, hopeful to play in home country of Sweden

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Senior Director of Editorial

STOCKHOLM -- Victor Hedman will play for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2019 NHL Global Series against the Buffalo Sabres at Ericsson Globe on Friday (2 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN1, NHL.TV).

Hedman, who has not played since leaving the Lightning's game against the New York Rangers on Oct. 29 with a lower-body injury, resumed his spot running the first power-play unit at practice on Thursday.

"I told you if he was going to be on the power play today in practice, that'd be a good sign. He was," coach John Cooper said. "I can't speak for Victor, [but] I'm hopeful he'll be in tomorrow."

The 28-year-old is averaging 21:39 per game, second on the Lightning to defenseman Ryan McDonagh (22:21), and has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 11 games. He is a fixture on the power play, where he has three points, and is averaging 1:25 per game on the penalty kill.

"We feel like we have had to handle some adversity here early with some travel and things like that and then losing Victor to an injury and playing without him," McDonagh said. "We are anxious to get him back and get back to playing as a team and as a unit of five that knows where they are supposed to be at all times and plays with an attitude and competitiveness that is tough to match."

Hedman has missed the past two games for the Lightning, who enter the Global Series with a 6-5-2 record. He did not skate during the first two practices here but returned to the ice Tuesday. The Lightning were off Wednesday.

"It hasn't been easy since last week in New York," Hedman said. "A lot of stuff going through your mind, a lot of what-ifs, but I am very happy with the progress I have made in the last couple of days."

Hedman, who is from Ornskoldsvik, a coastal city approximately 330 miles north of Stockholm, is the Lightning's only Sweden-born player. He said he will have a large collection of family and friends on hand to watch this weekend.

"I'm starting to get a little bit nervous, and I usually don't get nervous before games," Hedman said. "But this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come back home and play for the team that I've been a part of for over 10 years. It's going to be an emotional couple of days playing in front of friends and family and the Swedish … the people and the kids, the boys and girls, that were there for this practice and will be at the game tomorrow.

"That's something special for them to see two good teams go at it."

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