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Lightning’s Anthony Cirelli and Nikita Kucherov leave early in win over Pittsburgh

Tampa Bay’s 2-1 overtime win in Pittsburgh was its eighth straight, but the injuries are piling up.
Pittsburgh Penguins' Brandon Tanev (13) is defended by Tampa Bay Lightning's Nikita Kucherov (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. [GENE J. PUSKAR | AP]

PITTSBURGH — The Lightning were missing key pieces to start Tuesday’s game against Pittsburgh, but left in even worse shape. Anthony Cirelli and Nikita Kucherov were both hurt in a 2-1 overtime victory over the Penguins.

The team was already without Steven Stamkos, the second-leading scorer, and two defensemen, Ryan McDonagh and Jan Rutta. Add the top defensive forward and top scorer to that list. When the injury bug strikes, it bites hard.

Related: Yanni Gourde breaks through his goal drought to give Lightning an overtime win over Pittsburgh

Cirelli blocked a shot from Evgeni Malkin on a penalty kill in the final seconds of the first period. He headed to the dressing room with the rest of the team and did not return. It was a shot from Malkin that took McDonagh out on Thursday.

Kucherov appeared to come up limping after tangling with Jack Johnson behind the net in the final minute of play of the second period. He skated to the bench hunched over and headed down the tunnel.

The team ruled both players out with lower-body injuries. Coach Jon Cooper did not have an update after the game.

The Lightning have one healthy scratch at defenseman, but none at forward. They have a day off on Wednesday and then play Edmonton on Thursday.

Cooper is hopeful Stamkos will be able to play in that game. If two of the three forwards are unavailable, the Lightning will need to call up someone up from the AHL.

Contact Diana C. Nearhos at dnearhos@tampabay.com. Follow @dianacnearhos.

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