TAMPA — Lightning captain Steven Stamkos left Saturday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks late in the first period with an apparent left leg injury and did not return.
Inside the final three minutes of the period, Chicago forward Joey Anderson fell on top of Stamkos while the two were battling for a puck against the far wall. As Stamkos tried to get to his feet, his left leg appeared to give way.
Stamkos grabbed his left knee area and tried to flex the leg, and favored it on his way off the ice to the Lightning bench. He was in obvious pain as he made his way toward the tunnel and was treated in the hallway before going down the tunnel toward the locker room.
Stamkos, 33, was not on the bench at the beginning of the second period. The Lightning announced during the period that he would not return to the game.
Stamkos was seen in the locker room after the game walking regularly, without a limp.
“I think he’s going to be OK,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “We just kept him out for precaution. We’ll check him out (Sunday), but hopefully he’ll be OK.”
Stamkos, who is third on the team with 66 points (27 goals, 39 assists) and has played in all 66 games this season, has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, including a broken right tibia in 2013 and multiple core muscle surgeries in 2020.
He is coming off the first 100-point season of his career in 2021-22, amassing 42 goals and a career-high 64 assists for 106 points in 81 games. The only game he missed was for the birth of his second child.
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