Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier returned to the lineup last night against the Atlanta Thrashers.
It was Lecavalier's first game action since injuring the knuckle on his right index finger on Nov. 11 in Washington. He had surgery on that same knuckle a few days later.
Lecavalier was given the clearance to play just hours before the game was set to begin.
Last night, Lecavalier was positioned on the team's second line with Simon Gagne and Sean Bergenheim. He had four shots on goal in over 16 minutes of ice time.
Lecavalier's return helped to boost the Lightning, who recently got Simon Gagne back from a neck injury but are still missing right wing Steve Downie, out another two to three weeks with a right ankle sprain sustained on Dec. 2 at Boston.
The Lightning, currently at 38 points and only two points behind the Southeast Division-leading Capitals, should be able to make a strong push for the playoffs come January if they can stay healthy.
For now, a healthy Lecavalier tremendously helps a team that has been without at least two of their top six forwards since Nov. 11.