Zach Werenski’s tremendous rookie season with the Columbus Blue Jackets is over.
Head coach John Tortorella told reporters on Monday that the 19-year-old defenseman will miss the rest of the playoffs after suffering a facial fracture during Columbus’ Game 3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Penguins go for the sweep Tuesday night in Game 4 back at Nationwide Arena.
A Phil Kessel shot late in the second period on Sunday went up Werenski’s stick and hit him in the face. He gushed blood on his way to the bench and moments later Bryan Rust tied the game for the Penguins.
Werenski returned to the game with a shield and a very damaged face. His comeback didn’t last long as he played the third period but sat out overtime after the swelling around his right eye became too much.
How bad was the swelling? Werenski Tweeted a photo out Sunday night:
Playoff hockey… pic.twitter.com/4GNoLYVECu
— Zach Werenski (@ZachWerenski) April 17, 2017
Hopefully Werenski’s face heals in time for his likely appearance in Las Vegas as a finalist for the Calder Trophy. In a year with a great rookie crop, the Blue Jackets defenseman finished with 11 goals and 47 points and averaged 20:54 of ice time per game during the regular season. Only William Nylander (26) had more power play points than Werenski (21).
“He is on a fast-track path to be one of the mainstays in this league,” Tortorella said Monday.
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