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Anthony Mantha fractures finger in fight in first

Young forward expected to miss rest of season

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

TAMPA - The Tampa Bay Lightning are now adding injury to insult.

Not only did the Lightning sweep the regular-season series against the Wings for the first time, now they've taken away one of the Wings' bright, young stars.

At 3:47 of the first period, Lightning defenseman Luke Witkowski fought Anthony Mantha and won the fight.

Mantha left the ice and the Wings announced that he would not return.

Wings general manager Ken Holland said Mantha suffered a fractured finger and would likely miss the last five games of the season.

"It's a loss, there's no question," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "I think the last three games or whatever, I thought he was really starting to come and play better hockey. I like Anthony lots. I think he cares a ton, I think he wants to be a real good player and it's unfortunate that he's out."

Mantha was third on the team in goals with 17, behind Tomas Tatar's 23 and Andreas Athanasiou's 18.

Mantha is fourth on the team in points with 36 behind Henrik Zetterberg's 63, Gustav Nyquist's 42 and Tatar's 41.

Mantha is also second on the team in plus-minus at plus-10, second to Zetterberg's plus-13.

"It's tough," Justin Abdelkader said. "He's a tough kid, plays hard, stands up for himself, which is great to see. Sometimes those are unfortunate things that can happen in fights. I thought he did a great job. I'm proud of him. That's the unfortunate part."

Witkowski is a Holland, Mich. native who went to Western Michigan from 2009-13.

The Wings just lost Luke Glendening for the season Monday to a fractured ankle/foot.

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