Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos has been ruled out for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Final, coach Jon Cooper announced Sunday.
“Hopefully the next time we see him on the ice is for a trophy presentation,” Cooper said. “He did everything he could to get back. And he did get back, and unfortunately he couldn’t go any further. I’m sure this will all be addressed after the series is over. He gamed it out.”
The Lightning, who hold a 3-2 lead over the Dallas Stars in the best-of-seven series, look to clinch the second Stanley Cup title in franchise history in Game 6 on Monday in Edmonton. Tampa Bay won in its initial championship in 2004.
Stamkos made a brief return to the Lightning lineup for the first time since Feb. 25 in Game 3 and scored a goal. The 30-year-old center skated only five shifts and logged 2:47 of ice time in the 5-2 win.
“To be honest, I didn’t think he was playing at all in these playoffs,” Cooper said. “I don’t think any of us did. So, he gave us 2:47 of brilliant hockey that’s a phenomenal story, scored a huge goal for us in a win and hopefully we can keep that momentum.”
Stamkos, who had core muscle surgery in March, was deemed “unfit to play” in each of the last two games.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, Stamkos has spent his entire 12-year career with the Lightning and is the franchise’s all-time leader with 422 goals. He ranks third in games (803), assists (410) and points (832).
--Field Level Media
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