According to Lightning head coach Jon Cooper, it's possible, but unlikely captain Steven Stamkos returns for Tampa Bay tomorrow night. ”Always a chance...tune in to find out...” Cooper said in his press conference today. It leaves us to speculate on when he may return, but Jon Cooper also mentioned he is inching closer, which could mean he is back as early as tomorrow, or maybe Game 3.

Stamkos, who has been out since March, skated yesterday in the Lightning's morning skate prior to Game 1. Stamkos had core surgery back in March, and was cleared for action prior to training camp in July before suffering a lower-body injury.

Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness thinks Stamkos will return at some point in the Stanley Cup Final. "We're expecting Steven to play at some point," Bowness said, according to The Associated Press' Stephen Whyno. "Listen, he's a great player. He changes the whole look on the power play. So that's a big factor."

Stamkos has had a remarkable career statistically since entering the NHL back in 2008. He was drafted by the Lightning first overall in the 2008 NHL entry draft. In 803 career regular season games, Stamkos has 832 points (422 G, 410 A), 499 penalty minutes, and is a +44. He has won the Rocket Richard trophy for most goals in the NHL, twice. During the 2009-10 season, him and Sidney Crosby both led the league with 51 goals, and during the 2011-12 season, Stamkos led the NHL with 60 goals.

If Stamkos is able to return soon for Tampa it would be a huge boost offensively. The fact they have gotten to this point without their captain is pretty incredible. It shows that the supporting cast around him have continuously gotten better over the past few years. From Brayden Point to Nikita Kucherov, to Victor Hedman and everyone else, Tampa Bay is going to be a top team in the NHL for many years to come. To silence the doubters, they must win this Stanley Cup.

Game 2 between the Lightning and Dallas Stars goes tomorrow night at 8 pm ET/6 pm MT. Dallas has a 1-0 series lead.
SEPTEMBER 20, 2020  (18H11)