Lightning defenceman Dan Girardi out indefinitely

Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Dan Girardi. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

WASHINGTON — Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Dan Girardi is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury.

The team announced Girardi’s status Tuesday before visiting the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals. Girardi has missed the past five games.

Coach Jon Cooper says the 34-year-old’s absence means the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Lightning will continue to rely on midseason acquisition Jan Rutta.

Tampa Bay also is without defenceman Anton Stralman, who has missed the past six games with a lower-body injury. Cooper says Stralman won’t play on this three-game road trip at the Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes and St. Louis Blues but is a possibility to play next week.

The Lightning have wrapped up first place in the NHL and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs and still have nine games left.

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