After Game 3 and Game 5 losses without Brayden Point, the Bolts look to clinch their first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals since their loss to the Blackhawks tonight at 8 on NBC.
Point played in Game 4, registering a goal but was removed in period three after a hit from Isles’ Adam Pelech that re-triggered the nagging injury. When Jon Cooper was asked about Point’s status, he answered the following:
“There’s a difference between when you’re fighting through pain on an injury that it can’t get any worse or you’re fighting through something that if you do one wrong thing, this could linger on longer and longer. There’s some many different variables [that] go into it, and those are what you have to manage and the player has to manage. But like I said, you don’t want to … guys can get hurt at any time, but in the end, they all want to play. That’s where you’ve got to take the player and the medical advice and everything into account and go from there. The other thing is too is if it’s Game 25 of the regular season or if it’s Game 6 of the conference final, I think those are probably weighed a little differently as well. But in the end, and I said it yesterday, it’s the player that we care about the most. If we’re going to put the player in harm’s way, we will not play him. But if they do play, then it’s justified why they’re playing because we’ve gone through all the steps. But like I said, we’re always looking after the player first.”
Point, who is tied with teammate Nikita Kucherov for most points in the 2020 NHL postseason, has been stellar. There’s no doubt that he is one of the biggest cogs for Tampa Bay, and an absolutely scintillating piece for them. In 66 games in 2020, he has scored 64 points with 25 goals and 39 assists. The most dramatic moment of the NHL postseason so far was his game winner in the five overtime game against Columbus.
His other overtime goal eliminated the Blue Jackets from playoff play.
The Lightning are 0-5 in their last five Eastern Conference Finals potential clinchers.
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