Lightning head coach Jon Cooper ‘not sure’ if Nikita Kucherov will play in Game 7

Lightning

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Tampa Bay Lightning who are on the brink of advancing to back-to-back Stanely Cup Finals could be without their most productive player of the postseason in Game 7 against the New York Islanders.

Nikita Kucherov did not participate in the morning skate at Amalie Arena on Friday ahead of the game after sustaining an injury in his first shift of Game 6 when an Islanders defenseman, Scott Mayfield, approached him from behind and cross-checked him.

Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper would not confirm if Kucherov would be healthy enough to skate with his teammates in Game 7.

“Ahh, not sure,” he said, “so I wish I could give you guys lineup answers and I can’t so we will have to wait until tonight.”

He did share his thoughts on how the lines would change without Kucherov.

“The Islanders are a fairly consistent four line team. We have kind of been like that, the same. We notoriously can go 11 and seven,” said Cooper. “I do not know if that is the feel in this game but, again, there is so much in the balance right now. If we have the ability to go four lines, we would like to and I think ice time gets dictated, players dictate their own ice time, but I think how the game is going as well as is the game 2-2 or is the game 6-0? All of that dictates how things are going to go but the guys that get the ice time are going to get the ice time.”

Kucherov, who logged nearly 15 minutes of ice time in Game 5, only spent 46 seconds on the ice in Game 6.

Consequently, he did not record any points but had recorded points in the previous eight playoff games. He leads the Lightning with 27 points on five goals and 22 assists in, essentially, 16 postseason games this year.

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