As the season has unfolded, captain Steven Stamkos cemented an important storyline for Tampa. Stamkos is back. After missing a good chunk of the 2016-17 season, the Tampa Bay Lightning forward is back, better than before with the Lightning, as they progress to look for another Stanley Cup.
Tampa Bay Lightning’s Steven Stamkos Bounce Back Season
Stamkos has not played a whole lot over the last few years, but this season he has not missed a beat. He’s returning from a broken leg from the 2013-14 season, a blood clot in 2015-15 and a meniscus tear in his knee last year.
Stamkos is finally back to full health and is at the elite form of the past. With eight goals and 31 points in just 18 games, Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov (16 goals, 30 points) are the most dynamic duo in the league. Staying healthy and keeping that form for 82 games is the only question at this point. If he is able to do so, the Lightning could be in talks for making the Stanley Cup Final.
“It may take some time. It might not. The only way you’re going to find out is getting in a regular season game and putting yourself through that test.” – Steven Stamkos told TampaBay.com earlier this year.
In 2013, Stamkos broke his right leg. He got tied up with Dougie Hamilton of the Boston Bruins while backchecking into the post.
At the end of the 2014-15 season, doctors noticed a blood clot in his collarbone; Which is very rare for hockey players.
Then came Tampa’s biggest fear. On November 15, 2016 while playing against the Detroit Red Wings, Stamkos appeared to have gotten tangled up with Gustav Nyquist and fell awkwardly. A torn meniscus ended his season, and was a major factor in the team missing the playoffs last year. Since the return of their Captain, they are back in form.
Man On a Mission
“He’s walking around like a man on a mission,” said head coach Jon Cooper.
The Lightning is currently in first place in the Atlantic division sitting pretty with a 14-2-2 record and 30 points. They are also running with a four-game win streak.
Since his return, Stamkos leads the league with 31 points. In his last four games this season, he has tallied up four goals and five assists for nine points. The last multi-goal game came against the Florida Panthers on October 30.
Stamkos also leads the league in assists (23), and power-play points (14).
His return to the Lightning lineup certainly brings them more confidence than ever before, as he helped Tampa Bay to a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks.
The goals will surely come for Steven. He is on the first line, alongside Vladislav Namestnikov and Nikita Kucherov. This is a line that has been producing goals since the season started. Although Stamkos only has just a few under his belt, the season is still young, and he has plenty of time to find the back of the net.
Kucherov has the hot stick at the moment, so Stamkos defers to him most of the time. Once Stamkos starts to find his form and rhythm, he will start to be the greedy goal scorer of the team and look for the puck to be on his stick more often, as the season progresses.