The Lightning have an opportunity to win the Stanley Cup Saturday night, but they will do so without Steven Stamkos.
"We're not going to see him tonight," coach Jon Cooper said. "We have to get another win. Stammer knows that he was a big part in us getting this far, both off the ice and what contributed when he played. But as for tonight, he won't be in."
Stamkos has missed most of the playoffs. He played three minutes of Game 3 - and scored on his only shot - but that is all he has been able to play.
His teammates have spoken of Stamkos as a calming presence in the locker room, saying he has remained an important leader even though he has not been able to play.
The team shared a video of Stamkos waiting in the hallway for his team after Friday's Game 4 win, pacing back and forth as the Lightning celebrated briefly on the ice.
He stayed there until Kevin Shattenkirk finished an interview with Sportsnet, sharing a hug with the overtime hero.
The captain had core muscle repair surgery on March 2 and his recovery was supposed to take six to eight weeks. It has been more than seven months, but he's still managing the injury.
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