Lightning rule out Stamkos for rest of Stanley Cup final

Suffering from a a core muscle injury, Stamkos scored in a brief return in Game 3

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will not play again during the Stanley Cup final, head coach Jon Cooper said on Sunday, adding the next time the team’s top star might be seen on the ice is during the trophy presentation.

The Lightning, who lead the best-of-seven final 3-2, will have a chance on Monday to clinch the franchise’s second Stanley Cup when they face off against the Dallas Stars in Game 6 in Edmonton, one of two COVID-19 bubbles used by the National Hockey League for the post-season.

Dallas staved off elimination with a 3-2 win in double overtime on Saturday night.

Recovering from March surgery to repair a core muscle injury, Stamkos has been limited to five shifts and just under three minutes of ice time during the playoffs. But he made them count, scoring a key goal in the Lightning’s Game 3 win that allowed them to take a 2-1 series lead.

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