No Widgets found in the Sidebar

NEW YORK — Lightning center Brayden Point continues to make his way back from a lower-body injury, but coach Jon Cooper said Point won’t return for tonight’s Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final.

Point was a full participant in the optional morning skate at Madison Square Garden, and he also worked in post-skate group drills. Given that he’s been out with an apparent right leg/hip injury, he skated well, particularly when making cuts.

Cooper opened his pregame media availability by saying if Point plays “he’s going to be ready to play. He’s not ready to play right now. ”

Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) smiles while on the ice with his team during the morning skate before taking on the New York Rangers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, June 9, 2022 in New York.
Tampa Bay Super center Brayden Point (21) smiles while on the ice with his team during the morning skate before taking on the New York Rangers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, June 9, 2022 in New York. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

The Lightning have been without Point since he was injured in Game 7 of the first-round playoff series against Toronto. The Lightning need to be assured that Point will be ready for the intensity of playoff hockey.

“You’ve got to be able to go out and be effective, not just go out there and go through the motions, ” said defenseman Ryan McDonagh. “This is playoff hockey. It’s different than regular season. It’s faster, more intense. You’ve got to be honest with yourself. ”

“We know (Point’s) going to do whatever he can, ” McDonagh added. “Whenever he says he’s good to go, we’ll obviously welcome him back with open arms. He’s been a huge part of our team’s success the last few years, no doubt about that. ”

Meanwhile, the Super return to New York realizing they have to win at least one game on the road to capture what is now a best-of-three series. The Rangers have won eight straight games at Madison Sq . Garden. And while it seemed like the Lightning needed time to get their legs and lungs back in Games 1 and 2 following a long layoff, Cooper said he knows his team will need more than what they showed in their past two wins at home.

“In the end, you have to win on the road, ” Cooper said. “That’s the bottom line. We have an opportunity tonight to do that, but it’s going to take everything we have and probably more to be able to get through and win a game on the road. ”

Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) on the ice with his team during the morning skate before taking on the New York Rangers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, June 9, 2022 in New York.
Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) on the ice with his team during the morning skate before taking on the New York Rangers within Game 5 of the Far eastern Conference Final of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, June 9, 2022 in New York. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

• • •

Sign up for Lightning Strikes , the weekly newsletter from Bolts beat writer Eduardo The. Encina that brings you closer to the ice.

Follow all the action on and off the ice

Follow all the action on and off the ice

Subscribe to our free Lightning Strikes newsletter

We’ll send you news, analysis and commentary around the Bolts weekly during the time of year.

You’re all signed  up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters  in  your  inbox? Let’s  get  started.

Explore all your options

Never miss out on the latest with the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida college sports and more. Follow our own Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter plus Facebook .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.