Point game-time decision for Lightning against Avalanche in Game 3

Point game-time decision for Lightning against Avalanche in Game 3

TAMPA– Brayden Point is a game-time decision for the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday.

The forward had missed 10 games after sustaining a lower-body injury in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 14, but returned for Game 1 of the Final. He played 17:59 in Game 1 and 16:40 in a 7-0 loss in Game 2 on Saturday.

The Lightning trail the best-of-7 series 2-0 and return home to host the Avalanche in Game 3 at Amalie Arena (8 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Point did not participate in the morning skate Monday. He has one assist in the Final, playing on the third line with Nicholas Paul and Ross Colton and occupying the bumper position on the power play in the first two games.

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He skated on his own or with the Lightning’s extra players for nearly two weeks prior to returning to practice June 13. When he was injured against the Maple Leafs, it was unclear whether he’d get the chance to play again this season, but Point said he tried not to think about that.

“It’s been tough,” Point said Tuesday. “You want to be out there. That’s why we play is to play at this time of the year. But the team has been playing so well that it made it easier just to focus on rehab and trying to get healthy.”

After the Lightning pulled out a 2-1 victory in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs, they swept the Florida Panthers in the second round before rallying from 2-0 down to defeat the New York Rangers in six games in the Eastern Conference Final.

Point played a big role in Tampa Bay winning the Stanley Cup in each of the past two seasons, leading the NHL with 14 playoff goals in 2020 and 2021. This postseason, he has five points (two goals, three assists) in nine games, including the overtime goal in a 4-3 victory in Game 6 against the Maple Leafs.

Andrei Vasilevskiy did not take part in the morning skate for the Lightning but coach Jon Cooper said the goalie is fine and will start Game 3. Vasilevskiy has allowed 11 goals on 68 shots in the Final and is 12-7 with a 2.60 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in the playoffs.

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