The Tampa Bay Lightning may be the walking wounded right now, but they will likely get back one of their best offensive players. Following morning skate on Monday, Lightning head coach Jon Cooper called Nikita Kucherov “probable” for Game 6, an elimination game for Tampa Bay.
Kucherov left Game 5 during the first period after crashing into the Chicago Blackhawks’ net. He did not return. The extra day off certainly helped Kucherov, who has improved by the day.
“He’s in considerably better shape today than he was last night,” Cooper told reporters on Sunday. “To be honest, I thought there was a chance he was coming back last night. But it didn’t work out. These two days will give him the rest he needs.”
Kucherov is second in playoff scoring with 22 points, and the Lightning are certainly in need of an offensive boost. Tampa Bay has scored just two goals in the past two games and saw their 2-1 series lead give way to a 2-3 deficit. The Lightning have failed to score more than one goal three times this series — they lost all three of those games.
Puck drop for Game 6 is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET at the United Center in Chicago.