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.”
• • •
The Tampa Bay Times has commemorated the Lightning’s second consecutive Stanley Cup title with a new hardcover coffee table book, Striking Twice. Order now.
Sign up for Lightning Strikes, a weekly newsletter from Bolts beat writer Eduardo A. Encina that brings you closer to the ice.