It appears as though the Tampa Bay Lightning will be without one of their core pieces for the rest of tonight after forward Brayden Point suffered an apparent leg injury late in the first period against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The injury came as Point and Toronto defenseman Mark Giordano traveled into the corner, Point trying to spin off of Giordano, but appearing to get his skate stuck, falling awkwardly onto the ice. Point would get up and go to the dressing room, putting no weight on his right leg. He would return at the start of the second period, taking a shift, appearing to be in a great deal of pain, returning to the bench and remaining there.
The loss of Point is massive for Tampa if he cannot return, being one of the team’s leaing point producers and one who contributes in all facets for the Lightning. Even more importantly, Point is known for his big playoff goals for Tampa, most recently the Game Six overtime winner against Toronto to force tonight’s Game Seven. Point’s playoff prowess is not an illusion either, as he has 367 points in 417 career regular season games, an impressive mark, but steps up to 77 points in 73 career playoffs games coming into tonight.
Looking ahead, losing Point could be a multi-factor issue for Tampa. For one, he would be expected to play a major part in Tampa’s ability to finish off Toronto tonight in Game Seven, and his absence could be a key factor if Tampa fails to do so. If Tampa does advance, then the question will shift to when, or if, Point can return going forward. Tampa will have a tough test on their hands if they advance, facing the 2022 President’s Trophy winning Florida Panthers in Round Two.