After a day off to recover from the Eastern Conference Final victory over the New York Rangers the Tampa Bay Lightning were back on the ice preparing for their next opponent, the Colorado Avalanche. Joining the the team for practice was Brayden Point. Yay!
Point did take part in some morning skates last round and has been seen often practicing on the ice, separate from the team. Participating in a full practice on a regular line is the next step to him returning to the ice. One thing of note was the line he was skating on throughout the day. It wasn’t the first or second line.
It’s a smart move by the Lightning to ease him back into the rotation. It’s been a few weeks since he’s played at game speed so expecting him to go full bore right out of the gate might be a bit too much. If the Lightning had a little more time before series, chances are he’d be able to work his way up to full top-six minutes.
Coach Cooper also gets to keep his two most effective lines together. The Stamkos line provided just about all of the 5v5 offense against the Rangers while the Cirelli line didn’t score, but absolutely dominated play while they were on the ice.
At some point Coach Cooper will mix things up and Point will be back on one of the top lines, but why not start things out with what’s working? He was also working with the top power play unit, so expect him to jump right back into that role.
Assistant Coach Jeff Halpren talked to the media after the practice and downplayed Point’s involvement, mentioning that it was a rather light practice.
There is really no reason for the team to say anything definite about his involvement at this point. Why give the Avalanche any prior knowledge as to if he’s playing or not? They can figure it out with the rest of us Wednesday night when they take to the ice for the pre-game skate.
It is at least another step forward for Point, who hasn’t played since Game Seven of the opening round. The Lightning have muddled forward without him through two series, but their offense has been lacking a little. Adding him back, even if it isn’t for his full 20+ minutes a night, would be a boon for the team. No knock on Riley Nash (with whom the Lightning are 4-0) but having Point in the line-up, even on the third line, would deepen the roster.
Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.
Lightning / NHL News
Don’t take this era of the Lightning for granted [Raw Charge]
Take a moment and enjoy what we are witnessing. Matthew takes a moment to reminds us that this is the best era of Lightning hockey and that we should all make sure to enjoy it.
Stamkos’ is no longer the dynamic young scorer that could threaten to score 60 goals a season. He is now the grizzled veteran captain that pots 42 goals and brings the entire team together.
After their practice the Lightning headed out to the airport for their charter flight to Denver. Groups of fans showed them off in style with signs and cheers.
If you were paying attention to the lines from the Lightning practice that were listed above, Corey Perry wasn’t on the ice. He did take a solid check from Jacob Trouba, but did finish the game. It is possible that it was just a maintenance day for the veteran forward, something that has happened in previous series.
#Bolts starting practice now, so don't think we're going to see Corey Perry. He did take that big hit from Jacob Trouba in Game 6, but never left the game and skated six shifts in the third period.#TBLvsCOL— Chris Krenn (@Chris_Krenn) June 13, 2022
Mikko Koskinen heading overseas [Copper and Blue]
It was rumored that Koskinen was looking to move on from Edmonton after the season and now it’s official. The veteran netminder is heading to Europe after signing a two-year deal with HC Lugano. Mike Smith might be ready to retire as well which would throw the Oilers goaltending situation into quite the conundrum.
John Gibson open to being traded [The Hockey Writers]
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