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Kucherov could play for Lightning against Senators

Forward considered day to day after blocking shot with right foot against Capitals

by Corey Long / NHL Independent Correspondent

Nikita Kucherov could play for the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.

The forward is considered day to day after he left the Lightning's 5-2 loss against the Washington Capitals on Saturday with 9:31 remaining in the second period after blocking a shot by Capitals defenseman John Carlson with his right foot.

Cooper was optimistic but cautious about Kucherov's availability Monday.

"I don't like speculating," Cooper said. "It's not as serious as we may have thought when we obviously saw what happened. He took a pretty good one off the foot there. I can't sit here for sure and say when he's going to play. But who knows? He could play tomorrow night. I don't know. He'd have to do some pretty good healing but he's a pretty tough kid."

Kucherov leads the Lightning with 34 points (10 goals. 24 assists) this season. Last season he led the NHL with 128 points (41 goals, 87 assists) and won the Hart Trophy as the League's most valuable player.

"You can't replace him," Lightning center Brayden Point said Saturday. "It was a great [shot] block. I hope he's OK. But you can't replace Kucherov."

Kucherov did not practice Monday and was replaced on his line by Tyler Johnson, who has missed the past four games with a lower-body injury. He has 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 27 games.

Cooper said he is hopeful Johnson will play Tuesday. He said Johnson felt good at practice Monday and is waiting to get cleared.

"Hopefully pretty soon," Johnson said. "We'll see how everything goes but got to ask the docs and see if they let me."

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