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Bolts navigate around early season COVID-19 issues

Tampa Bay prepares for Columbus and the NFC Championship
Posted at 4:45 PM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 17:51:53-05

TAMPA, Fla. — The Lightning are off to a 3-0-0 start, but they've already had two games with Dallas postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests on the Stars' roster.

There was even a question of whether the Bolts' second game against the Blue Jackets could be played on Saturday. The Bolts say it's all about awareness and attention to safety protocols now that there's no bubble.

"Is the plan 100% fool-proof? It is not," said Lightning head coach Jon Cooper. "Unless you do what we did in the summer. This is gonna happen. People have families. There are some outside influences you just can’t control."

On Monday, Lightning center Blake Coleman was put on the COVID-19 list as a precaution, but he came back and scored a goal in Thursday night's win.

"Obviously, the league’s done a good job of setting up their protocols," Coleman said. "They’re there to keep the players and our families safe. You know, I think stressful times for everybody. That’s just the way this year’s gonna be. But as long as you’re doing the right things, that’s all anyone can really ask."

Tampa Bay doesn't have a game scheduled for Sunday, so they'll have plenty of time to watch the Buccaneers take on the Packers in the NFC Championship.

"Obviously going up against a good Packers team on Sunday, but we’re looking forward to watching that game," said defenseman Victor Hedman. "It’s been unreal to watch their season. When you got the GOAT throwing the ball, good things are gonna happen. So we’re looking forward to a good match against the Packers this Sunday."