As the Tampa Bay Lightning took to the ice for warm-ups in Sunrise, Florida on Thursday night, a familiar face was missing. The captain of the team, Steven Stamkos, was not warming up with the rest of his teammates. As the drop of the puck drew nearer, official word came out:
UPDATE: Steven Stamkos is out tonight with a lower body injury. Is day to day #tblightning— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) February 11, 2021
It’s a big loss for the Lightning as Stamkos was off to one of the best starts in his career. In 11 games he has 14 points (7 goals, 7 assists) with half of those points coming in the last 5 games. Four goals and two assists have come on the power play where he’s been the driving force on a unit that has slowly found its rhythm.
His departure prior to the game did force the Lightning to switch up their lines a bit with Tyler Johnson slid into his spot on the top line with Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat. Mathieu Joseph took Johnson’s spot on the Anthony Cirelli and Alex Kllorn (which could be a great spot for him, to be honest) line. The Yanni Gourde Trio stayed together while the fourth line was rotated through as Tampa Bay went back to their 11/7 line-up.
The extent or cause of his injury is not known at this time. The Lightning have designated it as a lower-body injury, but in this league that can mean anything below the neck. While Stamkos did play in a season-low 15:28 on Tuesday against Nashville, there was no obvious indication he was injured.
His last shift of the game was on the power play (where he scored) at the 14:34 mark in the third period. However, that could just have been the product of the score at the time (5-1) and the physical nature of the game. His linemates Point and Palat also did not record a shift after the power play goal while Victor Hedman only took the ice for one the last five minutes of the game.
Stay tuned to Raw Charge as the story develops.