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Kucherov exits game vs. Caps with injury

Kucherov was injured after blocking a shot in the second period

by Bryan Burns /

Tampa Bay lost leading scorer Nikita Kucherov for half of its contest against NHL-leading Washington Saturday night at AMALIE Arena.

Kucherov was injured midway through the second period blocking a shot from the Capitals' John Carlson. The shot hit Kucherov in the leg, and the Russian right wing skated a couple strides before dropping to the ice. He appeared to be in serious pain as Lightning head athletic trainer Tom Mulligan attended to him. Kucherov eventually rose to his feet and skated off under his own power but was bent over at the waist the entire time.

Kucherov stayed on the bench for a minute before eventually limping his way down the tunnel.

Earlier in the period, Kucherov provided the second assist on Brayden Point's power-play goal at 5:45 of the middle frame, which leveled the game 1-1.

Midway through the third period, the team announced Kucherov would not return after sustaining an injury.

Kucherov entered Saturday's game leading the Lightning for assists (24) and scoring (34). The 26 year old was coming off a two-assist performance two nights earlier in a win over the Boston Bruins for his ninth multi-point game of the season.

Kucherov has played 30 games for the Lightning this season. He missed a game Nov. 21 at Chicago with an upper-body injury suffered two nights earlier against in St. Louis.

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