‘Elite’ Point could return for Lightning in Game 1


DENVER — Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper mentioned issues are leaning in direction of Brayden Point returning to the lineup for Recreation 1 of the Stanley Cup Closing on Wednesday evening towards the Colorado Avalanche.

“If it is not tomorrow, then we actually anticipate Recreation 2. However we’ll see how he’s tomorrow,” Cooper mentioned Tuesday.

Level suffered a lower-body harm after simply 5 minutes, 51 seconds of ice time in Recreation 7 towards the Toronto Maple Leafs on Might 14. He was dominated out for his or her subsequent 9 video games earlier than changing into a game-time choice in Recreation 6, when the Lightning eradicated the New York Rangers.

“There’s an opportunity (he performs),” Cooper mentioned. “Final collection, if it was going to go deep, we thought doubtlessly (he may play), however we weren’t going to push something. It is all about how he feels. He felt fairly good right this moment.”

Level agreed that it is too early to cement him within the lineup for Recreation 1. “We nonetheless gotta see. I do not suppose something is assured. It was simply enjoyable to be on the market with the staff and be part of it,” Level mentioned, talking in the course of the Stanley Cup Closing’s media day.

Level mentioned when he left the ice in Recreation 7 towards Toronto, there wasn’t concern that his season was over. However within the quick time period, he was visibly annoyed that he could not proceed on towards Toronto.

“Recreation 7 is a do or die scenario for the staff. You do not wish to really feel such as you’re leaving the battle,” he mentioned.

The truth that the Lightning have received eight out of 10 video games in his absence, incomes a 3rd straight journey to the Stanley Cup Closing, eased his frustration a bit.

“It has been powerful. You wanna be on the market. It is why we play, to play right now of yr. However the staff has been enjoying so effectively that it made it simpler to only deal with rehabbing and making an attempt to get wholesome,” he mentioned.

Level has been regularly working again, lastly rejoining his teammates for full practices. He skated with ahead Nick Paul and Ross Colton just lately, which might be a sign that Cooper intends to ease him again into the lineup, quite than throw him again right into a prime offensive position.

“Brayden Level is an elite participant on this League and he’ll play his minutes accordingly of how he is responding,” Cooper mentioned. “It is powerful to not play after which bounce proper right into a Stanley Cup Closing sport. Loads of it should be on how he is feeling. I would not classify that Pointer’s going to be sitting on the bench a complete lot. If he is wholesome, he’ll be on the market.”

Level admitted that bounce proper again into the pace of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will not be straightforward.

“Anytime you are coming again, you’ll be able to’t replicate the timing and whatnot of playoff hockey in a follow. It simply does not occur. It will be an adjustment for positive,” he mentioned. “But it surely’s the playoffs. You gotta do every part you’ll be able to to be a constructive addition to your staff.”

Level had 4 factors in seven video games within the opening spherical. No participant has scored extra targets (30) than Level has over the previous three NHL postseasons. He has 60 factors in 53 video games throughout that span.

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