After some early stumbles, the Lightning were really gathering steam, even without Nikita Kucherov. Now the Lightning will need to keep it going with Brayden Point also lost to what sounds like a significant injury.
Update: the Lightning announced that Brayden Point is expected to miss four-to-six weeks with an upper-body injury.
Lightning lose Point, who’s out indefinitely with upper-body injury
Point most likely suffered the injury when he was tripped up on a breakaway against the Devils. For what it’s worth, Point did return to that game, and attempted a penalty shot.
A scary moment, but Brayden Point gets up! #GoBolts pic.twitter.com/sNFUNPfmcz
— Bally Sports Florida & Bally Sports Sun (@BallySportsFL) November 20, 2021
If you’re looking for even a vague window on what “indefinite” could mean, you’re out of luck.
Through 16 games this season, Point generated 13 points (7G, 6A). As usual, Point brings more than just, erm, points to the Lightning, being a strong play-driver. The Lightning were leaning on Point more than usual, too, as he averaged exactly 20 minutes per night after averaging between 18:26 and 18:55 TOI the past three seasons.
Heading into Sunday’s game against the Wild, the Lightning carried a 9-4-3 record. That Devils game ended a Lightning point streak, as they’re 7-1-2 in their last 10 games.
Along with Kucherov and Point, the Lightning have also been without defenseman Erik Cernak lately. Back in late October, Kucherov’s recovery window was estimated at 8-10 weeks. If that recovery window remains unchanged, the Lightning should get Kucherov back between January and February. Again, it’s unclear if Point will be back by then.
If any team can withstand injury losses of both Kucherov and Point, it’s the Lightning. That doesn’t mean it will be easy, and the Bolts may not have much luck making up ground against the red-hot Panthers in the Atlantic Division.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.