Quick Bit: Kucherov left Game 3 in the third period and did not return.

Full Story:

The Lightning bounced back in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, cruising to a 6-2 win over the Avalanche to grab their first win of the series.

But a big storyline at the end of the game was the status of Lightning star forward Nikita Kucherov, who left Monday night’s contest after taking a cross-check to the lower body from Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews.

Late in Game 3, Toews appeared to use his stick and push down onto the back left hip/thigh area of Kucherov. The Tampa Bay winger was clearly in pain and after hobbling off the ice, he went down the tunnel and did not return.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper was restrained in his comments during his postgame press conference, but made it clear he wasn’t happy with the play from Toews.

“When you get asked questions like that, you’re looking for an answer that everyone in the building already knows,” Cooper said when asked about his thoughts on the cross-check from Toews. “Guys know what they’re doing.”

Both Steven Stamkos and Corey Perry were also asked about the play after the game, however the two of them each said they did not see what occurred.

MORE: Nick Paul leaves Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, returns and scores

Toews was given a two-minute minor for cross-checking.

How long is Nikita Kucherov out for?

Cooper did not give an update on Kucherov’s status after the game, saying that he will address it Tuesday.

There was less than seven minutes left to play in a game that was already decided, so the fact that Kucherov did not return shouldn’t be read into too much. However, if Kucherov is out, even if it’s just one game, it a huge blow to a Lightning team still fighting to even the series.

Will Devon Toews face discipline for the cross-check?

There is a chance that Toews hears from the NHL Department of Player Safety, but that likely won’t come until Tuesday or later.

It was a play that had some similarities to one from Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo in 2019. Bortuzzo cross-checked Viktor Arvidsson twice, with the second right in the lower-back area.

The location of the hit is similar to Toews’ on Kucherov. Bortuzzo was suspended four games for the incident, however he was considered a repeat offender, which resulted in him getting more games.

Originally found on Sporting News Read More

Leave a Comment