Tampa Bay Lightning star Nikita Kucherov will likely play in game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, but important center Brayden Point will miss the chance.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper insisted that Kucherov could return for the Stanley Cup Final.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper said he thinks Nikita Kucherov will be able to play in Game 4 tomorrow.
He said Brayden Point is day to day but “highly doubtful” he plays tomorrow
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) June 21, 2022
“I never count that kid out,” Cooper said. “As I sit right now, I think he can play tomorrow,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Tuesday. “But I’m not Kuch. If I know Kuch, he’s sitting there saying the same thing. But we’ll see what the doctors and everybody says.
“It’s always difficult when the game was literally 12 hours ago, whatever it was. A lot can happen in the next two days. Am I glad there’s a day off in between games? Yes. It’s playoff time and regardless of how you think of how it happened and how it went down last night.”
Kucherov injured in Game 3
A 6-2 win over Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup Final 3 lifted Tampa Bay to a 2-1 lead at the cost of Kucherov, who had to sustain an injury.
Kucherov was forced to exit the game early after getting cross-checked by defenseman Devon Toews.
With six minutes left in the third period, Toews pushed Kucherov along the ice and the winger fell on one knee but he managed to get back up.
Nikita Kucherov to the locker room after this cross-check by Devon Toews pic.twitter.com/oiDl3cjKRO
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) June 21, 2022
The referee declared it a minor penalty, and Kucherov walked to the trainers’ room.
It was an upsetting moment, at least for Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman.
“It’s one of those plays you don’t want to see,” he said. “It’s a dangerous play. You never want to see that. We’ll see if anything happens probably not but it’s a dangerous play.”
The NHL Department of Player Safety has decided to not discipline Toews.
Point is also on the Lightning’s injury list. Cooper said Point’s appearance in Game 4 was “highly doubtful”. He will miss the second straight game.
The center has been a game-maker for Lightning. In the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Point scored two goals and three assists in nine playoff games, including one assist in the Final, and led the NHL with 14 playoff goals.
Cooper says Brayden Point is “highly doubtful” for Game 4.
Day-to-day for the rest of the series.
— Mike Stephens (@mikeystephens81) June 21, 2022
His injury came in Game 7 of the first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Point then missed the next two playoff rounds. He returned from the list in to play only in Game 2.
“The status of ‘Pointer’ is day to day,” Cooper said. “That’s probably the best I can give you. Doubtful for tomorrow.”
Cooper’s take on Game 4
Facing the next game, Cooper said of Tampa Bay would repeat its victory.
“Give the guys credit. They knew what they had to do and they did it,” he said. “Now we’ve gotta do it again. It’s always difficult when the game was literally 12 hours ago, whatever it was.
“A lot can happen in the next two days. Am I glad there’s a day off in between games? Yes. It’s playoff time and regardless of how you think of how it happened and how it went down last night, you can debate about that, but you get dinged up this time of year, these guys.”