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Lightning’s Brayden Point out tonight for Stanley Cup final Game 6

The center left the Cup final lineup after Game 2, shortly after his return from a lower-body injury incurred during the opening round.
Lightning center Brayden Point hasn't played since Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final against Colorado.
Lightning center Brayden Point hasn't played since Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final against Colorado. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Jun. 26|Updated Jun. 27

TAMPA — The Lightning will try to prolong their season once again without Brayden Point, who was not on the ice for Game 6′s warm-ups.

It wasn’t a surprise, as coach Jon Cooper said this morning that he anticipated the same lineup from Game 5, which indicated Point would miss his fourth consecutive game.

“It’s tricky, too, because players are used to playing at a certain way, or how they feel they can play. If they don’t feel confident in playing at the caliber they’re used to, it almost works against them,” Cooper said. “So, it’s unfortunate because it’s a severe injury and at this time of the year, everybody’s trying to get back into the lineup and just there are some things you can’t do.”

The Lightning have not disclosed what injury Point has, other than saying it is a lower-body issue.

Tampa Bay, which trails Colorado 3-2 in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup final series, will aim to force a Game 7 back in Denver on Tuesday. The Avalanche, however, need one win to hoist the Cup for the first time since 2001.

Cooper has not ruled Point out for a potential Game 7.

“He’s still plugging along here and rehabbing and trying to get better,” Cooper said. “Who knows? If the series goes one more game, you never know.”

Point was injured in Game 7 of the opening round at Toronto and missed the next 10 games. He returned to the lineup for Game 1 of the Cup final series at Denver but was unable to play Games 3-5. He logged one assist and one shot on goal in his return.

Point, who led the previous two postseasons with 14 goals, has been missed particularly on the power play. The Lightning have gone 2-for-18 since the final began June 15.

“(Point’s) just a great support guy for all of us, just seeing him out there battling and trying to get better each and every single day and the motivation,” Anthony Cirelli said. “For us, just in the locker room, too, he brings so much leadership, he’s a guy that everyone wants to be around. So we’re going out there and we’re playing for him.”

For the Avalanche, forward Valeri Nichushkin, who was injured in Game 5 and walked into Amalie with a limp this morning, will play tonight. But forward Andre Burakovsky, who has been injured for the past three games, will not.

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.

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