Star Tampa Bay Lightning Center Brayden Point is expected to miss four to six weeks due to an upper body injury, the team announced Tuesday.
Point, who occupies top minutes for the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, was injured at home on Saturday with a loss to the New Jersey Devils. He didn’t play the next day, vs. the Minnesota Wild.
In the third period against the Devils, Point appeared to favor his left shoulder/arm area after hitting the end boards hard after tripping. Point was awarded a penalty for the foul, and his effort hit New Jersey goalkeeper Mackenzie Blackwood’s shoulder, then bounced off the crossbar. He was able to finish the game, a 5-3 victory for the Devils.
Point, a veteran of what have become Tampa Bay’s traditional playoff runs, had an NHL-best 14 goals last postseason. It was the second consecutive season that he topped the NHL in post-season goals.
Tampa Bay is already missing star right wing Nikita Kucherov, who is not expected back for four to six weeks as he recovers from a lower body injury.
The Lightning, last season without Kucherov, are no stranger to injuries and clearly have the depth to compete in the Eastern Conference. But with Point’s seven goals and 13 points, not to mention an 8:00 p.m. average time on ice, it’s going to be tough to replace those veteran minutes, on special teams and on a par.
Tampa Bay defeated the visiting Philadelphia Flyers 4-0 on Tuesday-evening to advance to 11-4-3.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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