The Tampa Bay Lightning stole both games on the road in Florida and will return to Tampa Bay with a comfortable 2-0 lead in the series against the Panthers. Looking to further their advantage in the second-round NHL Playoffs series, the Lightning are hoping to earn a win at home in Game 3.
Unfortunately, they are set to be without a key player, yet again. Head coach Jon Cooper revealed, via Eduardo A. Encina, that Brayden Point will be sidelined for Game 3 on Sunday, having yet to make his series debut against the Panthers.
#GoBolts coach Jon Cooper said Brayden Point is the only players definitely out for Game 3. Said he’s hopeful Hagel is a go tomorrow.
— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) May 21, 2022
Point suffered his lower-body injury in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs. Despite returning to that game and helping Tampa earn the series win over Toronto, he has yet to feature in the second round against the Panthers. Fans were hoping he'd be good to go by Game 3 back home in Tampa, but that isn't the case, according to Cooper.
While Point won't be on the ice for the third consecutive game, Cooper indicated he's the only player who would be unavailable, and the team is expecting Brandon Hagel to be available in Game 3.
With Point still on the mend, veteran forward Corey Perry has stepped up and taken his place on the top line, while also serving in the first power play unit. He scored the game's opening goal against the Panthers in Game 2, playing a huge role in the win.
Obviously, not having Point, one of the team's offensive superstars and locker room leaders, available in this series has had an impact, but the rest of the Lightning have stepped up to help mitigate his absence.