Point could miss Game 3 of East Final for Lightning against Islanders

Brayden Point could be out for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final for the Tampa Bay Lightning against the New York Islanders on Friday (8 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, SN, TVAS) after he left Game 2 on Wednesday, 

The center may have been injured in the first period and played two shifts in the second period but was not on the ice for the third period.

Tampa Bay won 2-1 on a goal by Nikita Kucherov with nine seconds left to extend its lead in the best-of-7 series.

There was no update after the game on Point, who scored five points (two goals, three assists) in an 8-2 Game 1 win on Monday. 

Lightning coach Jon Coooper, when asked Thursday if Point could miss Game 3, said, “It’s a possibility.”

“It’s hard for me to give updates on Point right now,” Cooper said. “We’re actually off today, so it would be pointless to really talk about it. I’m not trying to keep you in the dark or anything, but we won’t have a better understanding until I talk to [the media] tomorrow morning.”

Point lost his helmet after he fell awkwardly into the left-wing boards in the offensive zone with seven seconds remaining in the first period. He was late returning to the Tampa Bay bench at the start of the second period and played two shifts in the opening 5:23 before going back to the locker room.

Point is the leading scorer remaining in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He has 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 15 games, second this postseason behind Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon, who scored 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) in 15 games before Colorado was eliminated by the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Second Round.

Point’s departure left the Lightning with nine forwards for the remainder of Game 2. Tampa Bay, which dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen, also lost forward Alex Killorn 5:55 into the game after he received a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct for a hit on New York forward Brock Nelson. Killorn was suspended one game on Thursday and will not play in Game 3.

Anthony Cirelli moved up to center Tampa Bay’s top line with Ondrej Palat and Kucherov after Point left the game, and would likely fill that role again in Game 3 if Point can’t play.

Rookie centers Mitchell Stephens, who has one goal in six postseason games, and Carter Verhaeghe, who has one assist in three postseason games, are the leading candidates to enter the lineup.

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