Lightning centre Brayden Point hasn't played in a playoff game since May 14. He may return soon.
Point is recovering from a first-round lower-body injury. He tried to stop and pivot along the boards, but his right leg gave out. Point returned to the bench in pain and didn't play again.
Despite losing a top player, the Lightning hope to three-peat. Tampa Bay beat the Rangers in six games to reach their third straight Stanley Cup Final. They'll play preseason Cup favourite Avalanche.
Point has two goals and two assists in seven postseason games. He led the team in goals in 2020 and 2021, when it won the Stanley Cup.
The Eastern Conference finals almost had point. He wasn't ruled out until he missed Game 6 warmups.
After beating the Rangers, Lightning coach Jon Cooper praised Point.
The forward practised Monday. His first line rush was with Nick Paul and Ross Colton.
Assistant coach Jeff Halpern said "it's hard to tell from today's practise."
Point has three days before Game 1 to recover. The Lightning have been patient with him, so they won't rush his return.
In the last three games of the Rangers series, Cooper used 12 forwards and six defensemen
Riley Nash was the 12th forward, while Brandon Hagel played wing with Anthony Cirelli and Alex Killorn. If Point is out, it makes sense to keep that line together.