The Tampa Bay Lightning were playing with one hand tied behind their back, or one leg, in some cases, in the Stanley Cup Final — starting with Brayden Point.
Bolts general manager Julien BriseBois said the All-Star center had a significant quad tear in his leg. He was hurt in Game 7 of the first round against the Leafs and missed 10 games. He returned for Games 1 and 2 of the Final but was a shell of himself and didn’t play again. BriseBois said he’ll be healthy in a couple of weeks.
Point’s injury was one of many for Tampa as they tried to win their third straight Stanley Cup but lost in six games to the Colorado Avalanche.
Fellow star center Nikita Kucherov sustained a sprained MCL in his knee during the Final, likely on a cross-check from Devon Toews in Game 3 that sent him hurtling into the boards. He had a goal and three assists in the Final.
In addition, forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare already had an MCL injury entering the playoffs. Brandon Hagel took a puck off the foot and suffered a fracture in the second round. Ryan McDonagh played through a mangled finger that was injured in the Eastern Conference finals.
Forwards Anthony Cirelli, Corey Perry and Nick Paul hurt shoulders against the Rangers. And then Cirelli dislocated the other shoulder in the Final. Paul added a sprained MCL against the Avs.
All are supposed to be healthy for next season.
It’s common for hockey players to say that everybody has some kind of injury come playoff time. Avalanche injuries haven’t been disclosed yet, though Colorado played fewer games in the playoffs and had more time to rest and recover.
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