The Lightning played back-to-back games this past weekend. On Saturday, they played against the New Jersey Devils, and on Sunday, they played against the Minnesota Wilds. Both being afternoon games, the Lightning lost the first game 5-3 against the Devils, and won their second game 5-4 in a shootout against the Wilds. The Lightning had full control of the game on Saturday against the Devils after the second intermission, but blew their lead and ultimately lost the game. The Lightning did not only lose the game, but Brayden Point suffered an upper-body injury (shoulder) during the third period. He suffered the injury while being tripped on a breakaway. He hit the boards at full speed, but was able to finish the game. The bad news is that on Sunday, the Lightning’s first-line center was ruled out indefinitely, and did not play against the Minnesota Wilds. At this point, no one knows if it is a long-term or short-term injury. The Tampa Bay Lightning is already without superstar Nikita Kucherov, which is projected to come back in the lineup in late December. Also, the team is missing Erik Cernak in the back end. Now with Brayden Point, injuries are starting to pile up for the Lightning. The injured players are significant contributors to the Lightning’s success, and they do not have as much depth as they had in the past. All that to say, there is no report or current update on the Brayden Point injury as of right now. The team is still waiting on the results from the team doctors, and they hope it is not long-term because it is a long season. The hope is that the Lightning can keep hanging, and still compete for a playoff spot. Brayden Point had seven goals and six assists. He was starting to pick up where he left off in the playoffs.
If Brayden Point is to miss games for the Lightning, players in the lineup will have to step up their game in the absence of their first-line center. Steven Stamkos, Ondrej Palat, and Alex Killorn have all had a great start to the season, but the one player that will have to step up big time in Point’s absence is Anthony Cirelli. Anthony Cirelli is currently taking Brayden Point’s spot in the center position. He was playing on the wing, but Cirelli is a natural center. Unlike Brayden Point, Anthony Cirelli is more of a two-way player. He will have to step up offensively if the Lightning wants to continue to be the team to beat in the Atlantic Division. In Point’s absence on Sunday, Cirelli had two goals.
Here is the current lineup for the Tampa Bay Lightning. (Daily Faceoff)
Ondrej Palat – Steven Stamkos – Alex Barré-Boulet
Alex Killorn – Anthony Cirelli – Mathieu Joseph
Patrick Maroon – Pierre-Édouard Bellemare – Corey Perry
Boris Katchouk – Ross Colton – Taylor Raddysh
Victor Hedman – Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh – Zach Bogosian
Mikhail Sergachev – Cal Foote