Brayden Point will not play for the Tampa Bay Lightning this weekend, but the center could return soon after that, coach Jon Cooper said Friday.
Neither Point nor center Cedric Paquette was in the lineup Thursday when Tampa Bay defeated the Florida Panthers 5-2 at Amalie Arena in its season opener. The Lightning visit the Panthers on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; FS-F, SUN, NHL.TV) and the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday to begin a six-game road trip.
"These two games? No," Cooper said of Point, who is recovering from offseason hip surgery and signed a three-year, $20.25 million contract (average annual value $6.75 million) on Sept. 23. "But after that you can start asking."
Point, who had an NHL career-high 92 points (41 goals, 51 assists) in 79 games for Tampa Bay last season, practiced Friday but did not take part in all drills. He was originally expected to return near the end of October but was cleared for contact Monday.
Paquette, who is out with an upper-body injury sustained in the preseason finale against the Panthers on Sept. 28, did not practice Friday.
"Let's put two weeks on Paquette," Cooper said. "Probably at the end of our road trip. Ask me then."
Tampa Bay does not play at home again until Oct. 19, when it hosts the Colorado Avalanche.