"He's in considerably better shape today than he was last night," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Sunday after his team arrived from Tampa, adding however that they would have to see how he felt Monday before making a final decision on his status.
Cooper added that he was convinced Kucherov was going to return in the game Saturday night. Kucherov left the ice in Game 5 after a net-front collision with Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford that sent him crashing into the left goalpost, his face hitting the far post violently. He immediately went to the trainer's room with an upper-body injury and did not return.
The Russian-born winger, a member of the vaunted "Triplets" line, is second in the Stanley Cup playoffs with 10 goals and 22 points.
"Kuch has been a huge part of why we've been successful, he's been clutch and scored big goals, hopefully he's back," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said Sunday. " ... We're hoping that he's back but if not we've got guys who are capable of getting the job done."
Tyler Johnson, who centers the Triplets line, is also suspected of playing through an injury which has also slowed down the line.
Meanwhile, Lightning netminder Ben Bishop, who returned Saturday night after missing Game 4 with an undisclosed injury, is "feeling much better" according to Cooper on Sunday.