Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point will miss his fourth straight Stanley Cup Final game, coach Jon Cooper said Sunday morning.
Point, 26, suffered a lower-body injury in the Lightning’s Game 7 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 14. After sitting out a pair of series against the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers, Point returned for Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Colorado Avalanche. He was largely ineffective, though, recording just one shot across more than 34 minutes on the ice. Point was then scratched from the next three games.
“It’s extremely difficult for everyone involved because everyone cares so much,” Cooper said of the decision to keep Point out of the lineup, via ESPN. “But there’s no animosity of anything like that. They’re just difficult conversations because everybody wants the same thing.
“It’s tricky because players are used to playing at a certain way. If they don’t feel confident in playing at the caliber they’re used to, it almost works against them. So it’s unfortunate because it’s a severe injury, and at this time of the year, everybody’s trying to get back into the lineup and just there are some things you can’t do. When you can’t do what you’re used to doing, it’s tough on a player.”
When asked if Point could be available for Game 7, Cooper said “who knows?”
Point recorded 58 points during the regular season and was second on the team in goals with 28. He led the team in goals in each of the last two postseasons, leading the way for Tampa Bay to win back-to-back Stanley Cup titles.