The second-round series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers is moving to Tampa Bay for two back-to-back games starting tonight. Surprisingly, the Lightning have taken a commanding 2-0 lead in the series against the Presidents’ Trophy winner and now have a home-ice advantage in the series. That also allows them not to rush the recovery process of Brayden Point, who has not played since Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the previous round.
As Jon Cooper confirmed yesterday, Point will miss the third game of the series in a row. Cooper also added that so far there’s no new information on Point’s condition and it’s questionable if he will return before the end of the series. Point hasn’t begun skating yet and was absent from every practice since his injury.
Jon Cooper said Brayden Point is out Game 3. Asked if he’ll return in series, Cooper says “we’ll have to wait and see”— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) May 21, 2022
Point wasn’t the only absent player from yesterday’s practice. Brandon Hagel also didn’t skate with the team, taking a body maintenance day. Hagel was one of the players who briefly went to the locker room after blocking a shot in the previous game. According to coach Cooper, they’re hopeful he will be ready for tonight’s game.
The Lightning had a couple of black aces during yesterday’s practice. Cole Koepke replaced Hagel on the line with Ross Colton and Corey Perry, while Darren Raddysh skated with Jan Rutta. Riley Nash practiced with Pat Maroon and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare again.
With Dureau, the Lightning have a bit of a lottery ticket with him as a prospect. The most likely outcome positive outcome for Dureau is that he becomes a productive third liner that provides depth scoring, but there’s a high possibility he is just a very good AHLer. If things break his way and his skill translates to the pros and especially into the NHL and he can keep up physically, then there’s always the chance that he develops into a second line playmaker that can contribute on the power play. That outcome is much more in doubt, but the potential is always there when you have a skilled forward prospect. It all comes down to if he can translate his skills and thinking to the professional level.
Jon Cooper talking about Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who emerged as one of the locker room leaders over this season.
“Belly is inspiring. He’s the guy that, even if things are looking bleak, he’s always got something positive to say … it’s contagious.”#FLAvsTBL— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) May 21, 2022
Bellemare himself about his early years of careers and his path to the professional hockey.
Bellemare may just have some motivational speaking in his future.— Sports by Tampa Bay Times (@TBTimes_Sports) May 21, 2022
And this story of how he came to be so positive is a must-watch pic.twitter.com/JnsAhK6OyK
Colorado defeated St. Louis in a very tough and physically engaged Game 3 and took a 2-1 lead in the series. Jordan Binnington left the game in the first period after taking a hit from Nazem Kadri, Samuel Girard also couldn’t finish the game and was diagnosed with a broken sternum after a hit by Ivan Barbashev. Artturi Lehkonen scored two goals for the Avs, Darcy Kuemper made 29 saves.
Florida Panthers @ Tampa Bay Lightning — TBL leads 2-0
1:30 PM ET; TNT, TVAS, SN
3:30 PM ET; ESPN, TVAS, SN (JIP), SN360
8:00 PM ET; ESPN, TVAS, CBC, SN