The Tampa Bay Lightning announced that team captain and centre Steven Stamkos is unfit to play in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. However, he’s not been ruled out for the entire series according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. Tampa head coach Jon Cooper announced Stamkos wouldn’t be available for tonight’s game.
Steven Stamkos is "unfit to play" in Game 4. He hasn't been ruled out for the rest of the series.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 25, 2020
Steven Stamkos Out for Game 4
Stamkos scored in a storybook return for the Lightning in their 5-2 Game 3 victory over the Dallas Stars. He only needed two minutes, 47 seconds of ice time to make an impact for his team. The Markham, Ontario native’s goal gave Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead early in the first period.
So far this season, Stamkos has scored 29 goals and 37 assists for 66 points in 57 games. He also added 22 penalty minutes during the 2019-20 season. His possession numbers are 51.8 percent Corsi and a relative Corsi of -0.8.
Over his 12-year NHL career, Stamkos has only played for the Lightning. He has 422 goals and 410 assists for 832 career points in 803 career games. Tampa Bay originally took him with the first overall pick of the 2008 NHL Draft.
Stamkos didn’t play a shift after the first period, but tried testing out his lower-body injury during a timeout. However, he was held out for the rest of the game after the Lightning built a huge lead.
What This Means for the Future
The captain’s return drew comparisons to New York Knicks legend Willis Reed during Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals. His return to the lineup helped his team get a jolt and take a 2-1 series lead.
Tampa has adapted well without their captain in the lineup. They’re two games away from their first title since 2004. Players like Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman has stepped up while Stamkos was recovering from his core injury and lower-body ailment. The possibility of his return is also a big boost for people who thought his injury was really serious.