Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov likely to play in Game 4

Tampa Bay Lightning star Nikita Kucherov is likely to play in Game 4 but fellow forward Brayden Point is expected to miss his second straight game, coach Jon Cooper said Tuesday.

Kucherov exited Monday’s 6-2 victory against Colorado in Game 3 after a third-period hit from Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews.

“As I sit right now, I think he can play tomorrow,” Cooper said. “But I’m not Kuch. If I know Kuch, he’s sitting there saying the same thing. But we’ll see what the doctors and everybody says.”

Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final is Wednesday night in Tampa. The Avalanche hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series against the two-time defending champions.

Kucherov, 29, leads the Lightning with 26 points (seven goals, 19 assists) in 20 games this postseason.

Toews received a minor penalty on the play, which Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman called “dangerous.” NHL Player Safety opted not to discipline Toews, ESPN reported.

The Lightning are likely to be without center Brayden Point for a second straight game due to a lower-body injury originally suffered in Game 7 of the first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Cooper said Point is “highly doubtful” for Game 4.


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