On Wednesday night, when current forward Nikita Kucherov left the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Islanders due to injury, the Chargers suffered a major blow.
Two minutes after the start of the game, Kucherov hit the islands forward Matthew Balzal, who slid off the ice. It is not clear whether the injury occurred in that game or when New York’s Scott Mayfield cross-checked his guard a few seconds ago.
Not sure if this caused the injury, but Kucherov cross-checked Mayfield’s transition in the corner earlier.It’s a bit slow to go up too pic.twitter.com/7Hp1MA9PAq
— NHL Safety Watch (@NHLSafetyWatch) June 24, 2021
Mayfield was not punished for his club work.
Kucherov did not come back at the beginning of the second quarter. Before exiting, he only had 46 seconds of ice time. The Chargers have not yet provided the latest information about his status.
Tampa Bay needs to find a way to make up for Kucherov’s offensive losses. The 2018-19 Hart Cup champion is the club’s leading scorer in the playoffs this season. He scored a league-high 27 points (5 goals, 22 assists) in 17 games. When he recovered from hip surgery in the offseason, he missed the entire regular season.
The Chargers led 2-1 late in the second quarter. They tried to end this year’s Eastern Conference finals and qualify for the Stanley Cup finals for the second consecutive year. Brayden Point scored at 16:02 in the first quarter and Anthony Cirelli scored at 12:36 in the second quarter. At 14 minutes and 22 seconds of midfield, the Kojima team halved the lead on Jordan Eberle’s goal.
After Wednesday, Balzal returned to the ice Received misconduct in the 5th game Used to cross-check Jan Rutta’s series in Tampa Bay on the head.