Defenseman Victor Hedman returns to ice for Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning's Victor Hedman shoots during the second period against the Colorado Avalanche.

Mike Carlson/AP

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning received a key figure back from injury Saturday, with Victor Hedman returning after a two-game absence.

The defenseman made a comeback from a lower-body injury when the Lightning beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in a shootout at Amalie Arena. He was considered a game-time decision, but he participated in pregame warm-ups and was named a starter. He had 24:06 of ice time and finished with a plus-minus rating of minus-one.

"He’s a horse back there for us," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "I thought he had a really strong game, to be honest. I thought he battled hard for us. He gets pucks out of our zone and plays D fast. I thought he had some really good chances up ice. I thought he had a really strong game."

Hedman, 24, sustained the injury in a loss to the Philadelphia Flyers last Monday. He was considered day-to-day, but his return Saturday seemed likely after he participated in Tampa Bay’s practice on Friday.

Hedman has five goals and 15 assists in 27 games this season, his sixth with the Lightning.

You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at