The Lightning again will play without Steven Stamkos when they take on the Bruins in a round-robin game on Wednesday. Coach Jon Cooper said Tuesday that the injured captain will miss the game, his 10th going back into the regular season.
Stamkos did return to the ice after missing three days of practice but did not fully participate in the session. He did not take a place on any of the forward lines.
Before Monday’s win over the Capitals, Cooper said the team had never planned on Stamkos playing in their first round-robin game. The week before, however, Stamkos said he hoped to get into multiple round-robin games.
On Tuesday, Cooper attributed Stamkos’ absence to the ebbs and flows of recovery, not a setback.
Stamkos had core muscle repair surgery on March 2 and had returned to the ice, saying he felt “great” during the NHL’s pause. But he then sustained an injury that he said was connected to the surgery.
Stamkos had three full practices with the team when they reached Toronto. He didn’t play in the exhibition game, but that wasn’t the expectation. He practiced, taking a spot with Anthony Cirelli and Alex Killorn, the next day. That was his last full practice with the team.
The Lightning plan to take Thursday off and practice Friday before their final round-robin game Saturday against the Flyers. The first round of the playoffs is scheduled to start the following Tuesday.