1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Lightning

There’s good news for Brayden Point’s return

Diana C. Nearhos’ takeaways: scary moment for Ryan McDonagh, the good news from Sunday and a tailgate tale.
Tampa Bay Lightning's Ryan McDonagh (27) goes to the ice to attempt to block a shot by Carolina Hurricanes' Warren Foegele (13) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. [KARL B DEBLAKER | AP]
Published Oct. 7
Updated Oct. 7

RALEIGH, N.C. — There’s good news on Brayden Point watch 2.0, less so on the Cedric Paquette front.

Cooper estimates Point is ahead of the original late October timeline for his recovery from hip surgery. He might play on the upcoming road trip.

The Lightning hit up eastern Canada this week, starting with Toronto on Thursday and finishing in Boston a week later. Cooper didn’t have any specifics but said it’s possible Point plays.

Paquette, however, will not be playing on that trip. The center injured his arm during the Lightning’s final preseason game (a separate injury from the one that kept him out earlier in the preseason). Cooper said he’ll have a better idea on Paquette’s timeline in two weeks, when he should be skating again.

Read up on the Lightning’s 4-3 overtime loss to Carolina:

Shots proved hard to come by on Sunday, costing the Lightning. Steven Stamkos pointed to the same attitude that hurt them in the playoffs last year, expecting to win because of their skill. Read more.

Tyler Johnson has good luck against Carolina. He’s recorded more points against the Hurricanes than any other team in the league. Read more.

Lightning notes and thoughts:

· When will Curtis McElhinney play again? The problem with being a backup goaltender is your great performance is rewarded with a spot on the bench. The next obvious start for McElhinney is Oct. 30, the second half of a back-to-back at New Jersey. But the Lightning might try to get him another game in between.

· Ryan McDonagh had a scare on Sunday. He was tripped by Warren Foegele and went into the boards skates first, crunching his legs awkwardly. McDonagh was slow get up and skated to the bench with a grimace on his face, but he did return to the game.

· Stamkos moved back to center on Sunday. It’s unclear if that’s where he’ll play. There’s definitely logic to wanting him, Point and Nikita Kucherov on a line and thus Stamkos being the one who moves to wing. But before Point comes back, the Lightning is best with Stamkos at center.

· The Lightning’s depth has always been a strength. Cooper (like other coaches) doesn’t like labeling the lines one through four and stresses the importance of rolling all four. But when the going got tough on Sunday, he didn’t roll four. The fourth line (the team’s best through the first two games), only played about five minutes five-on-five. Luke Witkowski, Gemel Smith and Pat Maroon aren’t exactly a scoring line (though they did get the Lightning on the board Saturday), but they had been the team’s driving force. So why not play them?

· Technically, the Lightning extended their point streak against Carolina to seven games (4-0-3). BUT (yes, that needs the capitals), they were lucky to get a point in this one.

· There’s an interesting parallel here. Last year, the first back-to-back of the season pitted the backup goalie (Louis Domingue) against his former team (Arizona) and the team laid an egg in front of him. Sound familiar?

· There were some good things that happened early on Sunday. The Lightning scored three goals in a period. Stamkos made a beautiful play and a beautiful shot. Kevin Shattenkirk and Victor Hedman have three points in three games. Mikhail Sergachev has four. It’s interesting that the three leading scorers are defensemen, but it’s not that the forwards aren’t scoring as much as they’re sharing the wealth.

· When your NHL team plays on a college campus, you tailgate like it’s football. The Hurricanes play in PNC Arena at North Carolina State and fans park in the same lots they do for Wolfpack football games. Naturally, some tailgate the same way, too.


  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston talks to reporters after an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. The Saints won 31-24. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) BUTCH DILL  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay: What’s next for the Bucs, Astros-National World Series preview, the Lightning’s short-circuit start
  2. New Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk hopes to rebound from a disappointing two-year stint with the Rangers. CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    Like Tampa Bay, the former Ranger has something to prove this season | Martin Fennelly
  3. After Colorado's 6-2 whitewash on Saturday left goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Lightning looking for answers, the Bolts had a spirited practice at Amalie Arena on Sunday. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Defenseman Ryan McDonagh says the team has failed to meet expectations in this early stage of the season
  4. Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92), left, and Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) tussle behind the Colorado net during the second period Saturday at Amalie Arena. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times
    Tampa Bay racks up 18 penalty minutes in Saturday’s 6-2 loss to Colorado.
  5. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) is beaten (again) by Colorado Avalanche center Tyson Jost (17) for the go-ahead goal (2-1) during the second period Saturday at Amalie Arena. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Little goes right for Tampa Bay, which is dominated by Colorado.
  6. The Tampa Bay Lightning's alternate jerseys hang in the locker room last season. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    The “Disrupt the Night”-themed jerseys were a bone of contention among some fans and broadcasters last season because of illegible numbers.
  7. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) scores against Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) in a shootout on Oct. 17 in Boston. The Lightning won 4-3. ELISE AMENDOLA  |  AP
    Journal: Tampa Bay will spend three games at home before another extended stint on the road, and tonight’s post-game concert is moving inside.
  8. Former Lightning wing Ryan Callahan's debut as an NHL Network analyst is drawing positive reviews. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Slap Shots: And we answer this week’s reader’s question: Why doesn’t Victor Hedman play more minutes, like other No. 1 defensemen?
  9. Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) celebrates with teammates after he scored in overtime of the team's NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 in Sunrise, Fla. The Avalanche won 5-4. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) WILFREDO LEE  |  AP
    Now the Avalanche head to Amalie Arena for a showdown with the Lightning on Saturday.
  10. Nikita Kucherov teams with Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos to give the Lightning one of the most potent top lines in the league. They'll face off against another "super line" Saturday against Colorado. Tampa Bay Times
    After the Boston Bruins’ super trio, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov look for more success against Colorado’s concentrated scorers.