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Lightning eager to play but welcome some time off

Reigning champs waiting on Carolina-New York series
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Posted at 4:29 PM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 18:36:34-04

TAMPA, Fla. — It's a good news, not-as-good-news situation for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

They get a couple of extra days off because they swept the Florida Panthers in the second round, and the Carolina versus New York series is ongoing. The reigning Stanley Cup champions welcome some added rest during a grueling playoff schedule, but players want to play.

"You got some guys that are banged up, so it’s going to be nice for them to get healed up," captain Steven Stamkos said after Thursday's practice. "But on the other hand, you’re just so used to playing. You’re in that grove, so that’s kinda nice, too. So it’s kinda pick your poison there. It’s been nice to just have some family time and some down time."

The extra time off gives Brayden Point more time to recover. The Bolts center injured his right leg in game seven of the Toronto series and hasn't played since.

"He’s obviously a huge part of this team. Very important player," forward Alex Killorn said. "The longer we play, the better chance of him joining us. We understand that’s a possibility. For sure, we think about that, yeah."

Tampa Bay will play either the Carolina Hurricanes or the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals. That series is tied at two games apiece, and game five is tonight at 7 P.M. in Raleigh, NC.