Lightning's Nikita Kucherov on ice with full team at morning skate

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) celebrates his goal with teammates during the third period in Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup finals against the Montreal Canadiens, Monday, June 28, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (Phelan Ebenhack/AP)

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov was a participant with the full team at morning skate on Saturday.

Kucherov has been inactive since Oct. 16 when he suffered an unspecified lower-body injury. He underwent surgery in late October and was expected to miss 8-10 weeks.

The 28-year-old was Tampa Bay's leading scorer on each of the past two Stanley Cup runs. He missed the entire regular season last year recovering from hip surgery and returned for the first game of the playoffs.

Kucherov won the Hart Trophy as MVP in 2018-19 after leading the NHL with 87 assists and 128 points. After winning the Presidents' Trophy as the top regular-season team, the Lightning were swept by Columbus in the first round of the playoffs – a defeat Cooper and others credit to Kucherov adjusting his game.

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