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Could the Lightning get Nikita Kucherov back this week?

The star forward has been out with a lower-body injury since the third game of the season.
Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov has been out since the third game of the season with a lower-body injury. He may return to the ice this week.
Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov has been out since the third game of the season with a lower-body injury. He may return to the ice this week. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Jan. 2

The only good news for the Lightning coming out of their 4-0 shutout loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday was that star forward Nikita Kucherov potentially could return to the lineup in the coming days.

Since sustaining a lower-body injury in the Lightning’s third game of the season, the team has been projecting a early- to mid-January return, and coach Jon Cooper said that Kucherov could be an option to play in the Lightning’s first game back from their road trip Thursday night against Calgary at Amalie Arena.

Cooper said Kucherov, who is with the team on their current road trip to New York and then Columbus, isn’t expected to play against the Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

“But hopefully after that, he becomes into a little bit of a day-to-day (option),” Cooper said.

“We’ll get a good (practice) in (Monday) and hopefully Kuch is on the ice with us. But ... (guys have) got to get into their timing and their rhythm and their stamina. And the games are what really help that.”

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