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Nikita Kucherov Injury: Updates on Lightning Wing's Lower Body and Return

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) plays during an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
Danny WebsterAnalyst IIIMarch 27, 2016

Tampa Bay Lightning right winger Nikita Kucherov left Friday's game against the New York Islanders after blocking a puck with his skate.

Continue for updates.

Kucherov to Miss at Least One Game

Saturday, March 26

The Lightning announced Saturday Kucherov is listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury.

Kucherov suffered the injury in the third period of Tampa Bay's 7-4 win over the Islanders on Friday, per Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times. He was able to finish the game, however.

Kucherov has been Tampa Bay's best offensive player this year. In the last week alone, he's accounted for seven points in the last four games and has scored a goal in four straight games.

The 22-year-old Kucherov co-leads the Lightning with 62 points.

Coming into Saturday, the Lightning were tied at 91 points with the Florida Panthers for first place in the Atlantic Division. While Steven Stamkos is the leader and captain of the reigning conference champions, Kucherov has had a career year for Tampa Bay.

A former second-round pick out of Russia, Kucherov has already tied his career high with 29 goals and is three points away from reaching last year's total of 65.

Kucherov has also been a force for the Lightning on the power play, tallying nine goals when Tampa Bay has had an advantage on the ice.

With the Lightning on the verge of clinching their third straight playoff berth—and with hope of getting back to the Stanley Cup Final—they're going to need a healthy Kucherov down the stretch. In 26 playoff games last year, he had 22 points, including 10 goals.

Tampa Bay shouldn't miss a beat as long as Stamkos is on the ice, but the Lightning are a more dynamic team when Kucherov is healthy.


Stats courtesy of Hockey-Reference.com.

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