Nikita Kucherov leaves Game 3 early Stanley Cup Final Tampa Bay Lightning Colorado Avalanche

Tampa Bay Lightning star forward Nikita Kucherov left Monday’s Game 3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in the third period with an apparent injury and did not return.

The 29-year-old appeared to be in discomfort after taking a cross check from Avs defenseman Devon Toews in the third period. Toews was assessed a two-minute minor on the play and while Kucherov stayed out on the ensuing power play, he departed to the dressing room afterward.

Head coach Jon Cooper had no update on the winger after the game.

“It’s a contact game, but guys know what they’re doing,” Tampa’s head coach added.

“It’s a dangerous play. We’ll see if anything happens. Probably not,” Bolts defenseman Victor Hedman said.

Kucherov tallied two assists and was a plus-three at 17:46 of ice time before departing in the Lightnings’ eventual 6-2 win to cut the Colorado Stanley Cup series lead to 2-1. That gives the Maykop, Russia native 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) through 20 playoffs games this postseason.

Game 4 will go Wednesday evening from Amalie Arena in Tampa before shifting back to the Mile High City Friday night.

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