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In the notebook | Hope for Kucherov, doubt for Point

(Tampa, Florida) The image of Nikita Kucherov retiring to the locker room in pain was obviously not very reassuring for Lightning fans. For coaches either, for that matter.

Posted at 2:56 p.m.

Guillaume Lefrancois

Guillaume Lefrancois
The Press

The striker was not seen on the ice at the Amalie Arena on Tuesday, the day after the third game of the final. But Jon Cooper tried to be reassuring.

Is it better than what was first feared? “I think so,” Cooper replied. Then he corrected himself. ” I hope so. »

Relaunched on the question, he said he “thinks” that Kucherov will be able to participate in the fourth game on Wednesday. “But I am not Kuch. Except that knowing him, he must be saying exactly the same thing. But we’ll have to see what the doctor says. »

Discreet in the first game, invisible in the second, Kucherov delivered an inspired performance on Monday. He had two assists and six shots, while posting a plus-3 rating.

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Photo David Zalubowski, Associated Press

Brayden Point represents a “doubtful” case for Wednesday.

Kucherov’s presence would be all the more important since Cooper indicated that Brayden Point represents a “doubtful” case for Wednesday.

Point returned to play for the first two games of the Finals, before skipping his turn on Monday.

Decidedly, the Lightning is magané on the attack. In Monday’s duel, Nick Paul made a few visits to the locker room and was obviously playing despite an injury. It makes you wonder if the Avalanche will not end up simply winning a war of attrition.

“At this time of year, everyone is mortgaged,” Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon said after Monday’s loss.

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The Avalanche are also dealing with injuries up front, but the news is more encouraging.

Jared Bednar has indicated that Nazem Kadri could be “an option” soon. The striker, author of 14 points in 13 games, again put on the skates with his teammates on Tuesday.

The other cripple, Andre Burakovsky, was however still in Denver on Tuesday afternoon, which strongly suggests that he will not be at the next meeting. Author of the winning goal in overtime in the first game, Burakovsky did not finish the second game and was absent Monday.

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Photo Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports

Darcy Kuemper

Darcy Kuemper didn’t have his best game in the body on Monday, beaten 5 times on 22 shots. His assistant, Pavel Francouz, was therefore called in for relief in the second period.

Will Kuemper be back in goal for Game 4? “That’s a possibility,” Bednar replied. We will therefore have to see which goalkeeper will retire to the locker room first in Wednesday’s morning training.

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It was 33℃ on Tuesday, not to mention Florida’s unbearable humidity. In short, the conditions are not optimal to maintain an ice rink in a state worthy of a Stanley Cup final.

In a response on the game of Devon Toews, Bednar also blamed the quality of the ice for justifying the turnover committed by his defender, a turnover which led to the goal of Ondrej Palat.

“It’s not the best surface,” Toews said. But they play on the same ice as us. You just have to limit errors. »

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Photo John Locher, Associated Press

Jon Cooper

During the 2021 playoffs, the Avalanche presented the best power play in the history of the National League in the playoffs. But the success rate of 41.4% (12 goals in 29 occasions) did not prevent the team from dropping the flag in the second round.

The band at JT Compher is putting it back this year, with an efficiency of 33.9% (19 goals in 56 occasions). Among the teams that have won at least one series, this is the 7e story performance. Since the start of this final, the Avalanche have scored 5 times in 11 occasions (45.5%), which inevitably gives poor Cooper gray hair.

“Can we make more clearances, win more face-offs? Absolutely, Cooper recalled. There are also games where we just have to tip our hats to them, like the Landeskog shot yesterday [lundi]. »

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We still don’t know what job Jon Cooper’s son will do, but we can guess that he will hesitate between teacher and coach.

Asked to describe his team’s progress in this final, Cooper offered his son’s assessment instead. “He was like, ‘Dad, your first game was just a C+. For the second game, you have an F.” He gave us a B for the third game, so we’re going in the right direction! »

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