NYT > Sports
He was also great last year when he scored 7 goals and 27 assists in the Lightning’s Stanley Cup winning run. But he recently revealed that he tensed a groin muscle in the first game of this playoff run and the pain eventually migrated to his hip and needed an operation on December 29th. He missed the entire regular season, 56 games, but joined the Lightning in time for the first playoff game.
Jon Cooper, the Lightning coach, didn’t say whether Kucherov would be available for Game 7 but sounded like he was ready to make alternative plans.
“We played 56 games without him,” said Cooper. “We usually have 12 strikers when we play without him. That probably made it harder for us when we had 11. But we’ve been walking this route for four months. This is nothing new to us. “
For the Islanders, the win means that the Nassau Coliseum could host more Islander games after all. The team, which has been playing in the old concrete bunker since 1972, will move to a swanky new arena in Elmont next season, but if they win on Friday, they will continue to play in their parent company.
But if they lose Game 7, the final scenes of Islander hockey at the Coliseum will be beer cans racing onto the ice as the players underneath celebrate a dramatic win. Despite being the coach of the Washington Capitals in 2018 when they won the Stanley Cup, he has been training in the NHL for 22 years.
He said Wednesday’s win ranked there with some of the best for a variety of reasons, including the win-or-die situation, his affection for that team, the fans, and even for the arena with all of its history as hosting Decades of islander teams with Hall of Fame players and four championship banners.
“These are great moments,” said Defiance. “When we come off the ice, everyone hugs each other and beer cans fly around everywhere. It was a beautiful sight and it was a moment that you will remember. “