Steven Stamkos won’t play in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final, coach Jon Cooper said, but the Tampa Bay Lightning captain hasn’t been left out for the rest of the series.
Cooper made the announcement on Friday morning, saying Stamkos is “unfit to play” in Game 4. The Lightning have a 2-1 Series advantage against the Dallas Stars with Games 4 and 5 taking place two consecutive days, Friday. is Saturday.
Stamkos hadn’t played all summer before making his 2020 post-season debut in Game 3 on Wednesday. Stamkos scored on the first shot he took when lightning bolted a 5-2 win. He became the first player in 80 years to score while playing his first post-season game of the year in the Stanley Cup final.
However, 30-year-old Stamkos only took five rounds, totaling less than three minutes of play, and did not play in the second or third period. He said he was being held because he encountered “a problem”
“There were a lot of things behind the scenes that I will be happy to share with you guys after the season,” Stamkos said after the game. “We are focused on winning right now, and this evening was a step in the right direction.”
Stamkos hadn’t played in a match since February 25 and underwent surgery on March 2 to repair a muscle injury to his core. His expected recovery time was 6-8 weeks, but he had several setbacks. Cooper said when he brought Stamkos into the Game 3 lineup that he didn’t expect the captain to have restrictions on ice.