Nikita Kucherov scratched from Lightning game due to illness

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) reacts after the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning in overtime of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Nikita Kucherov, the No. 2 scorer in the NHL entering Saturday action, was a late scratch for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes because of illness.

Kucherov, whose 23 points are one behind NHL scoring leader Elias Pettersson of the Vancouver Canucks, has five goals and 12 points in his past four games. His 11 goals are tied for second in the league, two behind Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He tied for third in the NHL in points last season with 113, the third time in five seasons that he reached triple figures.

The 30-year-old right wing, a second-round pick by the Lightning in the 2011 NHL Draft, has 287 goals and 752 points in 658 regular-season games. He was part of Tampa Bay’s Stanley Cup-winning teams in 2020 and 2021.

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