Tag: Corey Crawford

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Two

Kucherov ‘probable’ for Game 6, says Cooper


CHICAGO — In a Stanley Cup Final where injury updates have been extremely hard to come by, Monday bucked the trend.

Following the morning skate, Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said injured forward Nikita Kucherov — who exited Game 5 in the first period after crashing into the Chicago net — was “probable” for tonight’s Game 6 at the United Center.

Opting to speak in traditional NFL parlance — “what to they use in football?” Cooper joked — the Bolts bench boss decided to reveal Kucherov’s status, a far cry from what he’s done with the health of starting netminder Ben Bishop. To be fair, things were trending in this direction yesterday, when Cooper said Kucherov was “in considerably better shape” than on Saturday night.

Having the Russian sniper available is huge. Kucherov currently sits second in playoff scoring with 22 points, and Tampa Bay is struggling to score goals right now; they’ve only put two past Corey Crawford in the last two games and sniper Steve Stamkos has gone cold, having failed to find the back of the net since Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final against New York.

With offense sputtering, Stamkos says ‘I’ve got to be better’


TAMPA — Two goals, two losses and on the brink of elimination.

That’s the situation the Tampa Bay Lightning are in following Saturday’s Game 5 loss to the Blackhawks. The Bolts have frittered away a 2-1 series lead and seen their offense disappear with it; despite firing 57 shots at Corey Crawford over the last two games, they have precious little to show for it.

At the center of that dry spell? Steven Stamkos.

source:  The Lightning captain is goalless in the Stanley Cup Final, a scoring slump that dates back to Game 5 of the Rangers series. Saturday, he fired just one puck on net (three attempts total, which is also alarming) and was ineffective during a third period in which Tampa tried to rally, but came up short.

“You have to find a way,” Stamkos said following Saturday’s loss. “We had some looks at the end, it’s just not good enough to get looks right now. We have to find a way. We have to find a way to score some goals.

“It starts with me. I’ve got to be better.”

A series that promised to be an offensive showcase — and, at times during Games 2 and 3, lived up to the billing — has morphed into a defensive, tight-checking affair. The teams have combined to score just six goals over the last two games and while Stamkos isn’t the only high-profile player without a marker (remember, Patrick Kane hasn’t scored either), he’s now clearly feeling the pressure as it’s the Lightning, not the Blackhawks, that can’t afford to lose another game.

Even though he’s struggled, Stamkos said he welcomes the challenge ahead.

“We’ve got one game,” he explained. “It’s going to come down to how much we want to extend our season and what we’re willing to do. This group has come too far not to leave it all on the ice next game.

“We’re experienced in these situations. We’ve gone through it already this playoffs, we’ve found a way.”

Bolts have no update on Kucherov; Cooper thought he’d return

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five

TAMPA — The first question Jon Cooper fielded after the Lightning’s 2-1 loss in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final was about the health of injured forward Nikita Kucherov.

Not surprisingly, Cooper didn’t have much to say.

“I don’t have an update on [Kucherov],” he explained. “I thought he was going to come back, and then I got word he wasn’t coming back. He’ll be evaluated probably tonight and tomorrow.”

Kucherov, who came into tonight’s contest sitting second in playoff scoring with 22 points, was injured early in the first period after crashing into Corey Crawford’s net:

The 21-year-old was in significant pain skating off and, despite Cooper’s optimism, didn’t return to play. It’s unclear if he’ll be able to suit up for Monday’s Game 6 in Chicago, where the Lightning will face elimination for the first time this series.

With 10 goals through 25 games — that after scoring 29 during the regular season — it’s clear Kucherov is a vital contributor for a Lightning team that, suddenly, is struggling to find the back of the net.

It’s something Cooper discussed in his postgame address.

“He’s a point-per-game guy in the playoffs and a big part of our offense,” Cooper said. “In a series where goals are at a premium, it’s tough when you lose one of your guys.”