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FIRST ROUND

Hedman won't play Game 4 for Lightning against Blue Jackets

Undisclosed injury to sideline defenseman second straight game with Tampa Bay facing elimination

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

COLUMBUS -- Victor Hedman will not be available for the Tampa Bay Lightning's first true must-win game of the NHL season.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper said the defenseman, who won the Norris Trophy last season, won't play in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN360, TVAS, FS-O, SUN).

The Blue Jackets lead the best-of-7 series 3-0.

 

[RELATED: Full Lightning vs. Blue Jackets series coverage]

 

Hedman, who didn't skate in the Lightning's optional practice Monday, also missed Game 3 on Sunday with an undisclosed injury. The Lightning lost 3-1.

He played in Games 1 and 2 after missing the last four games of the regular season with an upper-body injury. It's not clear if Hedman's current injury is related to the injury that kept him out of the lineup at the end of the regular season.

Hedman had 54 points (12 goals, 42 assists) in 70 regular-season games. He had no points and was minus-2 in Games 1 and 2 against Columbus.

Defenseman Anton Stralman is also out, and forward Alex Killorn is a game-time decision.

Killorn, who did not skate Monday, was injured midway through the third period of Game 3. He came up hobbling after delivering a hit on Blue Jackets forward Matt Duchene with 11:38 remaining. He played one more shift but did not get back on the ice for the final 9:12 of the game.

Killorn has one goal and a plus-2 rating in the series.

Stralman will miss his fifth straight game, including Tampa Bay's regular season finale, with a lower-body injury. He skated Monday.

The Lightning will have right wing Nikita Kucherov in the lineup for Game 4. He missed Game 3 serving a one-game suspension for boarding Columbus defenseman Markus Nutivaara in the third period of Game 2.

Kucherov, who led the NHL with 128 points (41 goals, 87 assists), did not have a point and was a minus-2 in the first two games of the series.

He has no points in his past four Stanley Cup Playoff games dating to Game 6 against the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference Final last year. The Lightning are 0-4 in those games.

"I'm sure he's going to play with a chip on his shoulder," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said.

Nutivaara did not practice with the Blue Jackets on Monday after missing Game 3 with an undisclosed injury. Columbus coach John Tortorella said he did not have a status update on Nutivaara.

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