Lightning's Steven Stamkos Taken off COVID-19 List; Could Play vs. Panthers

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2021

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) before an NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

The Tampa Bay Lightning have removed captain Steven Stamkos from the NHL's COVID-19 list, according to George Richards of Florida Hockey Now.

That would make Stamkos eligible to return Monday night against the Florida Panthers, though he has recently been dealing with a lower-body injury.

The 31-year-old hasn't stepped onto the ice since Tampa Bay's 6-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. On Friday, he acknowledged his positive COVID-19 test but was optimistic the result was only a false positive:

It would appear Stamkos' test was a false positive since players who are flagged for multiple positive tests face an isolation period lasting at least 10 days.

Stamkos missed all but a few minutes of Tampa Bay's Stanley Cup run, eventually undergoing surgery for a core muscle injury in October.

The two-time All-Star hasn't shown any lingering effects from the injury or the procedure. He's third on the team with 14 points (seven goals and seven assists), helping to fill the void left as Nikita Kucherov recovers from hip surgery.

Thanks in part to Stamkos' contributions, the Lightning have the third-most points (21) in the NHL and look poised for another deep playoff run.

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