The Lightning fell short of their quest for a three-peat as Stanley Cup champions, falling to the Avalanche in six games. Tampa Bay did so without one of its top scorers, Brayden Point, who suffered a torn right quad muscle in Game 7 of the first-round series against Toronto.
Though it wasn’t for lack of trying. Point played in the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals but was clearly hampered by the injury, logging just one shot on goal. He did not appear in the final four games of the series and said that as much as he tried to get into playing shape, he was unable to reach a level that allowed him to help the team.
“A lot of guys this time are playing through injury,” Point said Tuesday, per Eduardo A. Encina of the Tampa Bay Times. ”I’ve had tears in the past and you can still find your stride and you can play and can still be effective, but this one was different. Just the power wasn’t there and the tight turns and all that kind of stuff that you need to be able to do to be effective and especially in the final, it just wasn’t there.”
Point said that the issue wasn’t about being able to endure the pain, but about the injury impacting his effectiveness and ability to perform as he typically would.
“It wasn’t a matter of playing through it or whatever,” Point said. “It was just a matter of Colorado was a good team, and me and the coaches and everyone felt like I wasn’t going to be able to be good enough out there to give us the best chance to win. So that’s kind of what the decision was.”
Tampa Bay lost the first two games of the series and later fell behind 3–1 before winning Game 5 on the road to force a Game 6, which Colorado won, 2–1. Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois said Point is expected to be recovered from his quad injury within a few weeks and would be ready for the start of next season.
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