DENVER | To improve your chances of winning the Stanley Cup in a league as equal as the NHL, you have to be able to count on all your soldiers. This is the happiness that the Lightning could find tonight with the possible return to play at Brayden Point.
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“There is a chance that he will play,” said Jon Cooper, during the press briefing he held with Julien BriseBois. If the series had extended in the last round, he would have played. »
“If he is not able to do it for the first game, we anticipate that he will be in uniform for the second,” added the Lightning head coach.
Injured in the right leg in a bad fall during Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Point has not dressed in his uniform since May 14. Yesterday, in training, he held a position on the first unit of the massive attack. Another hint of an imminent return.
All for Brayden
On the sidelines, the 26-year-old Albertan, who was a more than important cog in the Lightning's two most recent conquests, therefore had to settle for a spectator role in the last nine games. A sequence during which his teammates did not do too badly.
“It was difficult. You want to be on the ice in these moments, because it is to live them that we play hockey. But the team played so well that it was easier for me to just focus on getting back into shape,” he said of that seven-game, two-game losing streak.
"We all know what he can do in the playoffs, so playing without him hasn't been easy. If he returns to the game, we will be very happy to have a player of his caliber on our team, ”said Stevenæ Stamkos, about Point, author of 14 goals in each of the two successful courses of the Lightning.
At the four corners of the large room that served as the press room, Point's teammates all claimed to have given a little more to ensure that he did not play his last game of the season.
"We didn't know how long he would be on the sidelines, but we wanted to get as far as possible to allow him to come back," said Nikita Kucherov.
Made aware of the various comments, Point was grateful.
“It shows how tightly woven our group is. I've been playing with several of these guys for several years. And the others fit in perfectly. It's nice to hear," he said.