New Jersey Devils Sami Vatanen Questionable for Game 5

Sami Vatanen
NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 03: Sami Vatanen #45 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the New York Rangers at the Prudential Center on April 3, 2018 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Rangers 5-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

If the New Jersey Devils are going defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of their first-round series, and avoid elimination, they may have to do so without one of their best defensemen. Sami Vatanen suffered an upper-body injury in last night’s Game 4 loss to the Lightning, and may not travel with the team for Saturday afternoon’s game in Tampa.

New Jersey Devils Defenseman Sami Vatanen Suffers Upper-Body Injury

Vatanen was injured on a hit by Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov late in the first period of last night’s game. While some analysts have claimed that the hit is a headshot, there was no penalty on the play and Kucherov will not be disciplined by the NHL Department of Player Safety for the play.

Vatanen has one goal in four games in the series. This season, Vatanen scored four goals and 28 assists for 32 points in 72. He also added 40 minutes in penalties. His possession numbers were 48.7 percent Corsi and a relative Corsi of -1.0. Vatanen started the season with the Anaheim Ducks and played 15 games for the team before being traded to the Devils in a move that saw Adam Henrique go to Anaheim.

Over his six-year NHL career, Vatanen has played for the Devils and Ducks. He has put up 36 goals and 118 assists for 154 career points in 337 career games. He was originally drafted in the fourth-round, 106th overall of the 2009 NHL draft by the Ducks.

Game 5 is a 3:00 pm EDT start in Tampa Bay.

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