Nikita Kucherov will be out 8-10 weeks for the Tampa Bay Lightning after having surgery for a lower-body injury Tuesday.
The forward has missed the past four games since he was injured in a 2-1 overtime win against the Washington Capitals on Oct. 16. He has scored four points (one goal, three assists) in three games this season.
“It’s definitely not a day-to-day thing, so we’ll wait until we get an official word, but he’s definitely out,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Oct. 18. “He’s going to be out for a while here. We’re not going to put a timetable on it until we get an official word. In the short term here he’s definitely out.”
Kucherov, who did not play last regular season while recovering from hip surgery, led the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 32 points (eight goals, 24 assists) in 23 games to help the Lightning win the Stanley Cup for the second straight season.
He scored 34 points (seven goals, 27 assists) in 25 playoff games in 2019-20 and became the sixth player to lead the postseason in scoring (without a tie) in consecutive seasons (Mario Lemieux, 1991-92; Wayne Gretzky, 1987-88; Rick MacLeish, 1974-75; Phil Esposito, 1969-70; Howie Morenz, 1924-25).
“Frustrating more for him because I just know the work it took for him to get back,” Cooper said. “He was rewarded in the end with hoisting the Stanley Cup again, but I know he was looking forward to having a big year. As I said, it’s still early on here, so let’s see what the official diagnosis is, but anytime he misses one game it’s frustrating for him, and so I feel for him. Again, let’s wait and see what happens.”
The Lightning (3-3-1) host the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; BSSUN, BSAZ, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).