From The Ice

Steven Stamkos practicing, not drawing into lineup

Kevin Sousa/Icon Sportswire

The Tampa Bay Lightning saw top six center and team captain Steven Stamkos practice on Sunday morning without a no-contact jersey for yet another day, centering the team’s fourth line in yet another practice without being handled with kid gloves.

That’s fantastic news for the club, but doesn’t mean that he’s ready to go just yet.

Per Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, Stamkos’s status hasn’t changed ahead of game two against the Pittsburgh Penguins – meaning he’ll sit out yet another game for the Atlantic Division club while he finishes recovering from surgery for a blood clot.

There’s no timetable to see him back, but it seems possible that the 26 year old forward – who put up 36 goals and 64 points in 77 regular season games this year – could return by the end of the series. For the Lightning, this can only be good news; while the team defeated the Penguins 3-1 in their first game of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals, they likely want to see their highly touted center back in action as soon as possible.

The Lightning and the Penguins will face off on Monday at 8:00 PM EST for game two of their series, without Stamkos in the lineup. The next opportunity for him to draw onto the ice will be Wednesday, when the two teams head for Florida to face off for game three at Amalie Arena. The team has yet to confirm whether a Stamkos appearance either then or Friday – when game four will take place in Tampa – is a possibility.

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