Lightning Reveal Status Of Erik Cernak Ahead of Game 5

While Michael Bunting will be back in Game 5 from his three-game suspension for the hit to the head he delivered to Erik Cernak, the Tampa Bay Lightning defender will not be returning to action as soon. Luke Fox reported that Cernak will miss his fourth consecutive game after the dirty play by Bunting in Game 1.

After the Lightning won Game 1, the Toronto Maple Leafs, albeit without Bunting, won the next three, taking the 3-1 series lead. Cernak has been a huge loss for the Lightning on their back-end as they are already much weaker than they have been in recent years.

The dirty play couldn't have worked out better for the Maple Leafs as they had been fed up with Bunting's antics before the hit and got the opportunity to get Matthew Knies into the lineup. The Lightning lost a great defender and shot-blocker for longer than Bunting was out.

In the most important game of the series for the Lightning, they will somehow try to find a way to overcome losing four straight and hope Cernak returns sooner than later. Two games the Maple Leafs had no business winning, Cernak would have been someone key to the Lightning victory and help shut it down late in the game. Fortunately, the Lightning and Maple Leafs get two days off in between Game 4 and 5, but will still have to win a game without Cernak, as they haven't done in this series thus far.

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