Tampa Bay center Brayden Point did not play in Game 5 against the Islanders on Tuesday night. And just like Game 3, which he also missed, the Lightning lost. The Islanders pulled within 3-2 in the Eastern Conference final, prevailing in double overtime.
Anthony Cirelli played with Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat on the top line, which was the same combination used in Game 3 without Point. Tyler Johnson also pulled in a couple of shifts on the top line with Palat and Kucherov, bringing a little bit of “the triplets line” nostalgia to Edmonton.
Coach Jon Cooper, asked after the 2-1 loss if Brayden Point was close to playing or if he’d be available for Game 6: “It’s too hard to tell right now. Tough question to answer. Got to wait.”
Point came in and out of the lineup with a lower-body injury over the past three games. In Game 2, he appeared to tweak a hamstring or hip and did not return to play after walking down the tunnel in the second period.
His status was questionable heading into Game 3. On Friday morning, he skated with his team, but when it came time for warmups, Point was not out on the ice.
On Saturday, he skated in the team’s practice in Edmonton, according to daily practice footage provided by the league.
After returning to the lineup the next afternoon, his status for Game 5 came into question after a third-period hit at the boards from New York’s Adam Pelech. As Point skated toward the bench, he looked like he was favoring his right leg.