After dominating the National Hockey League for nearly the entire 2018 - 2019 NHL regular season the Tampa Bay Lightning have struggled in the 2019 - 2020 NHL regular season by comparison. The Lightning are not even in the conversation this season as one of the NHL's top threats to win the STanley Cup Championship in 2020 and in fact the currently sit behind the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs in the standings, and that is just in their own Atlantic Division.
Needless to say the Lightning have not gotten off to the start that they were expecting this season and now things may have just gone from bad to worse for the boys from Florida. On Saturday night Lightning superstar forward Nikita Kucherov left the game after he suffered an injury roughly midway through the game's second period. Kucherov appeared to be fairly banged up on the play and the Lightning have since officially confirmed that he was ruled out of the contest completely following his injury this evening.
Kucherov went down after he blocked a rocket of a shot from Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson, a guy known for having a big gun from the blue line. To make matters worse for Kucherov he appeared to catch the shot right on the laces of his skate, a part of the boot where this is really no protection on offer when it comes to padding a blow like the one you receive from a frozen puck traveling at that speed. Kucherov collapsed in a heap on the ice and writhed in agony almost immediately after the puck made contact with his foot. Although it Kucherov made a valiant effort to get back to the Lightning bench he could not do so under his own power and it was no surprise to see him remain in the Lightning locker room at the start of the game's third period.
As is usually the case Kucherov has been a big time contributor for the Lightning this season recording 10 goals and 24 assists for a combined total of 34 points in just 30 games. Should this keep him out for any length of time he will be impossible to replace.