The Tampa Bay Lightning have lost five in a row entering their game against the New York Rangers on Thursday night, and the news just got gloomier. From Dave Lozo of NHL.com, star winger Marty St. Louis took a puck to the face and left practice this morning:
St. Louis, who has played 499 consecutive games, was bleeding as he was helped from the ice by a trainer. St. Louis was circling behind the net during a drill when teammate Dominic Moore backhanded a shot high and wide and hit St. Louis.
Damian Cristodero of the St. Pete Times reported that St. Louis went to NYU Medical Center for evaluation. Lozo later quoted Lightning GM Steve Yzerman as saying, "I assume he won't be able to play tonight." Announcer Paul Kennedy wrote that St. Louis was out tonight.
According to The Slatekeeper, St. Louis had the fourth-longest consecutive games streak in the NHL heading into this season. Buffalo Sabres forward Brad Boyes's streak came to an end in November after getting to 501 consecutive games. The current NHL leaders: Jay Bouwmeester (533) and Henrik Sedin (526), way behind Doug Jarvis's at 964.
If St. Louis can't go this evening -- and all signs point to that -- his streak ends too. But as Erik Erlendsson wrote in the Tampa Tribune, St. Louis has been in this spot before. Like when a stomach virus almost ended the streak at 427; and earlier this season:
Earlier this season, he took a shot off an ankle and, had the team played the next day, St. Louis was not sure he could have put his foot in a boot. Last year, heading into a game in Los Angeles, St. Louis had taken a puck off his big toe the night before in Anaheim and head coach Guy Boucher all but declared him out. Before the game, St. Louis had the excess blood drained from the toe and went out and played 21 minutes.
Boucher called St. Louis's Ironman ability "ridiculous," and rightfully so. According to the Tribune, St. Louis has played in 749 of Tampa's last 751 games, including the playoffs.