Sports

Steven Stamkos: Is the Lightning captain playing in Game 3?

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s captain has yet to suit up in bubble hockey.

Now his team is one of the last two vying for the Stanley Cup.

Stamkos posted 66 points (29 goals, 37 assists) in 57 games during the 2019-20 truncated season. In 70 career playoff games, he’s collected 23 goals and 30 assists — including 18 points when the Lightning last played in the Stanley Cup Final back in 2015.

If he can play, he’ll bring a much-needed offensive boost not only to the lineup, but also the Lightning’s struggling power play that has dropped from 23.1 percent efficiency during the regular season to 19.1 in the postseason.

He has not played a game since Feb. 25 when he scored an assist and extended his point streak to 15 games (12 goals, 10 assists). On March 2 he had surgery to repair a core muscle injury and was expected to miss six to eight weeks. While he hasn’t played, he has been in the bubble and was on the ice when the Lightning were handed the Prince of Wales Trophy as the 2020 Eastern Conference champions.

“He’s still rehabbing,” general manager Julien BriseBois said before the final got underway. “We haven’t ruled him out.”

So, will he play? Sporting News is keeping track of the captain’s possible return.

Stanley Cup Final Game 1

  • Did he participate in the morning skate? Yes.

  • Did he participate in warmups? No.
  • Did he play in the game? No.

Stanley Cup Final Game 2

  • Did he participate in the morning skate? Yes.
  • What did Jon Cooper say in pre-game availability when asked about Stamkos? “So if you’ve been following anything, my press conference, I really don’t reveal anything about our lineups. So, you’ll have to tune in tonight to find out and it’s probably frustrating for a lot of people, especially if they have social media, but we’ll have our lineup tonight and 20 guys are gonna be in the lineup [that] will give us the best chance to win.”
  • Did he participate in warmups? No.
  • Did he play in the game? No.

Stanley Cup Final Game 3

  • Did he participate in the morning skate? Undetermined but probably no. Based on the video the NHL provides, he was not in any of the shots.
  • What did Jon Cooper say in pre-game availability when asked about Stamkos? “He’s inching closer … He’s getting closer.”  
  • Did he participate in warmups? Yes.

  • Did he play in the game? TBD

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