Tampa Bay Lightning Star Nikita Kucherov Leaves Game 6

Nikita Kucherov

The Tampa Bay Lightning star forward Nikita Kucherov has left Game 6 with an upper-body injury. Kucherov has not returned since the first period.

Nikita Kucherov Injured

The Tampa Bay standout left early in the first period of Game 6 against the New York Islanders after missing a hit on Isles star Mathew Barzal. The former Hart Trophy winner went into the boards and didn’t return. However, Kucherov had taken a cross check to the ribs of New York’s Scott Mayfield earlier in the shift.

The 28-year-old winger missed the entire 2020-21 regular season, but returned for the Stanley Cup playoffs. He’s picked up where he left off from last post-season with five goals and 22 assists for 27 points in 16 games.

Kucherov has only played for the Lightning in his eight-year career in the NHL. He’s scored 221 goals and 326 assists for 547 points in 515 career games. Tampa drafted the Maykop, Russia native in the second round, 58th overall of the 2011 NHL Draft.

The dynamic forward won the Hart, Ted Lindsay Award and Art Ross Trophy in the 2018-19 season after scoring 41 goals and 87 assists for 128 points in 82 games that season. He also was a key part of Tampa Bay’s 2020 Stanley Cup championship squad with seven goals and 27 assists for 34 points.

What This Means for the Future

Losing Kucherov for any sustained length of time would be a huge blow, but Tampa has survived injury issues before. He missed out on the recent regular season after undergoing hip surgery in the off-season. Not having the former MVP for a winner-take-all Game 7 against a tough Islanders team would be a big blow.

Kucherov is still a great scorer and playmaker that can ignite the Tampa Bay offence. He’s drawn plenty of scorn after recovering just in time for the start of the post-season. Especially after helping the Lightning win despite being over the salary cap.

Ross Colton also left the game due to an injury in the second period, but he did return.

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