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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. In this March 24, 2010, file photo, hockey personality Don Cherry, right, speaks during a news conference as actor Jared Keeso is displayed on a video screen while playing Cherry in the bio film "Keep Your Head Up Kid: The Don Cherry Story" in Toronto. Sportsnet cut ties with Cherry on Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, after the veteran hockey commentator called new immigrants "you people" on his "Coach's Corner" segment while claiming they do not wear poppies to honor Canadian veterans. DARREN CALABRESE  |  AP
    Cherry has not apologized for his remarks.
  2. The Stockholm City Library turned out to be the perfect place to get engaged. SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
    Stockholm City Library has a beautiful round hall that turned out to be the perfect place to get engaged
  3. Patrick Maroon of Tampa Bay Lightning against Buffalo on Nov. 9 in Stockholm. JONAS LJUNGDAHL  |  Bildbyran via ZUMA Press
    The team got practice, a reset and bonding from the week in Stockholm.
  4. Members of the Tampa Bay Lightning look on during the 2019 NHL Global Series Sweden, at the Ericsson Globe on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019 in Stockholm, Sweden. DAVE SANDFORD/NHLI  |  TNS
    Plus, a challenge to the NHL Challenge system, Tyler Johnson’s Sweden highlights and a Jon Cooper question. | Diana C. Nearhos
  5. A full-color model of the Vasa sits in front of the 391-year-old reconstructed Swedish warship at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. DIANA NEARHOS  |  TIMES
    Swedish travels continue with two of the most popular attractions in Stockholm.
  6. Tampa celebrates after Victor Hedman, left, scored, during a NHL Global Series hockey match between the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning at the Globen Arena, in Stockholm Sweden, Saturday. JESSICA GOW/TT  |  AP
    Yanni Gourde scored twice and Pat Maroon once as Tampa Bay swept the Globe Series back-to-back against the Sabres
  7. Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) of the Tampa Bay Lightning tends goal during practice at Ericsson Globe on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019 in Stockholm, Sweden. BILL WIPPERT/NHLI  |  TNS
    Ondrej Palat, Erik Cernak, Andrei Vasilevskiy and others get to play nearer to home.
  8. Stockholm Ice Hockey Federation project leader, Simon Stigenberg, was recognized with some local children as the Community Hero alongside Lightning owner Jeff Vinik during the first period of Saturday's game in Stockholm. Courtesy of NHL Images
    Tampa Bay recognizes Stockholm Ice Hockey Federation for its effort to make hockey accessible to immigrants.
  9. Buffalo Sabres' Vladimir Sobotka (17) works the puck as Tampa Bay Lightning's Ryan McDonagh (27) and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy defend during an NHL hockey game in Globen Arena, Stockholm Sweden. Friday. Nov. 8, 2019. (Anders Wiklund/TT via AP) ANDERS WIKLUND/TT  |  AP
    Lightning 3, Sabres 2: Andrei Vasilevskiy’s 20 saves help lift Tampa Bay in the first game of Global Series.
  10. Buffalo Sabres' Vladimir Sobotka (17) works the puck as Tampa Bay Lightning's Ryan McDonagh (27) and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy defend during an NHL hockey game in Globen Arena, Stockholm Sweden. Friday. Nov. 8, 2019. ANDERS WIKLUND/TT  |  AP
    Victor Hedman felt the emotions strongly, playing in his home country