Steven Stamkos is officially back. The Tampa Bay Lightning captain made his return to the lineup in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Dallas Stars on Wednesday. He had been out since February after undergoing core muscle surgery in March.
Stamkos wasted no time making his mark in Game 3 of the Final. He scored on his first shot just 6:58 into the first period, sneaking around the hip check of Dallas defender Esa Lindell and beating Stars’ goaltender Anton Khudobin with a perfectly placed shot to make it 2-0 Bolts.
Here’s video of the goal:
The Tampa Bay bench reacting to the Stamkos goal is awesome:
Our bench reacting to Stammer’s goal.
It’s everything. 💙 pic.twitter.com/7LsTICE2kh
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) September 24, 2020
It’s pretty special to see a player score on his first shot in his first game played in 211 days. He had also been patiently waiting in the NHL bubble for 55 days in order to get the go-ahead to make his return.
Stamkos finished with one goal in 2:41 of ice time in his first period of his return. He didn’t play in the last 6:18 of the period.
UPDATE: Stamkos didn’t originally come out for the second period, but he later re-joined his teammates on the bench midway through the period