Tampa Bay Lightning C Steven Stamkos not returning against Blues

(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos not quite ready to return as the Lightning takes on the St. Louis Blues tonight at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.

The Tampa Bay Lightning has quite a matchup in front of them tonight as they finish off their homestand against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the St. Louis Blues. Regrettably for the Lightning, there will be one name notably missing from the lineup when the Bolts take the ice.

According to Tampa Bay Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos has not been cleared for action and will not be returning to the Lightning’s lineup tonight as they take on the Blues. As one can easily imagine, this is not the news the Bolts Nation wanted ahead of tonight’s game.

While Stammer may not be returning to the lineup tonight against St. Louis, it does seem as if things are headed in the right direction. Stamkos was on the ice with the team for their morning skate, so it would seem things are not entirely too serious.

At the same time, the absolute last thing a team wants to do, especially with a player like Steven Stamkos, is push him back out on the ice before he’s ready and risk exacerbating his injury or opening the door for a new issue to arise. If the captain needs to few more games to return to form, we say take them.

Until Monday night’s game against the Buffalo Sabres, Stamkos was in first place on the team in terms of points. In the 19 games he’s played so far this season, the 29-year-old forward has brought home seven goals and 13 assists for a total of 20 points. As of Monday’s encounter with the Sabres, Nikita Kucherov has moved into the first-place spot with eight goals and 13 assists for a total of 21 points through 20 games.

The Lightning didn’t have the best outcome in their last meeting with the St. Louis Blues. The Bolts fell 3-1 to the Blues on November 19 in what turned out to be a rather spirited contest between these two Cup contenders.

While there is no official word on when Stamkos will be able to return to the Lightning lineup, Coach Cooper seems optimistic this moment is coming sooner rather than later. Coach Cooper said in a pregame interview today he hopes Stamkos will be able to return to the lineup by the weekend but wasn’t willing to make any promises.

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The Lightning has been on quite the upswing since their last meeting with the Blues. The Lightning has gone 3-0 in their last three games, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks, and Buffalo Sabres, respectively. Hopefully, the Lightning can keep momentum on their side and finish off their homestand by extending their current win streak to four games.