Lightning’s Stamkos, Kucherov to both play in Game 1 vs. Panthers

Jennifer Botterill, Justin Bourne and Ryan Leslie joins Tim & Friends to preview the Central Division playoffs, where a Lightning repeat will depend on Kucherov and Stamkos' status, and where even average goaltending could make the Canes favourites.

Tampa Bay Lightning stars Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov will both be in the lineup for Game 1 against the Florida Panthers on Sunday night, according to head coach Jon Cooper.

Kucherov missed the entire regular season after having off-season hip surgery while Stamkos has been out of the lineup since early April due to a lower-body injury.

“Right now, I feel really good,” Kucherov said after practice Friday. “Nothing’s bothering me. Feel strong. I think better than before.”

Kucherov recorded a team-high 34 points to lead the Lightning the franchise’s second Stanley Cup in the Edmonton bubble last summer. The 2019 Hart Trophy winner has scored no less than 85 points in each of the previous four seasons.

Stamkos missed all but one game of the playoffs last season with injuries but scored a memorable goal in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Dallas Stars. Before his April injury, the former 60-goal scorer was back to his usual self, scoring 17 goals and 34 points in 38 games.

You can watch Game 1 between the Lightning and Panthers — the first time the Battle of Florida will be contested in the playoffs — Sunday on Sportsnet and SN Now. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET/ 4:30 p.m. PT.

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