Lightning’s Valtteri Filppula leaves game with upper-body injury

Tampa Bay Lightning's Valtteri Filppula, of Finland, looks to pass against the Arizona Coyotes during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Valtteri Filppula has left Sunday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets and won’t return after suffering an upper-body injury.

It’s not yet clear what caused the injury, but Filppula did take a hard hit from Blue Jackets defenceman Fedor Tyutin with just over six minutes remaining in the first period. He finished his shift but seemed to be in discomfort.

Filppula has seven goals and 21 assists this year, his fourth with the Lightning.

Should the Lightning be without the 31-year-old Finn for a significant period of time, it could perhaps open a door for the disgruntled Jonathan Drouin to get another chance with the big club.

Drouin scored twice Saturday night while playing for the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch.

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