Lightning's Nikita Kucherov enters COVID-19 protocol

Tampa Bay Lightning star forward Nikita Kucherov was placed in the NHL's COVID-19 protocol on Tuesday.

Kucherov has recorded 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 11 games this season for the Lightning (28-10-5, 61 points), who return to action on Thursday against the visiting New Jersey Devils.

The former Hart Trophy recipient returned earlier this month after missing 32 games with a lower-body injury.

Kucherov, 28, missed the 2020-21 regular season after hip surgery but returned with a flourish in the playoffs, recording 32 points (eight goals, 24 assists) in 23 games to help the Lightning repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

Kucherov won the Hart Memorial Trophy, Art Ross Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award in 2018-19 after scoring a career-high 41 goals and leading the league in assists (87) and points (128).

He has 564 points (226 goals, 338 assists) in 526 career regular-season games since making his debut in 2013.

--Field Level Media

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