Stamkos returns to ice in Lightning preseason win

by Gary Shelton on September 23, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Steven Stamkos returned after missing nine months./STEVEN MUNCIE

Steven Stamkos returned after missing nine months./STEVEN MUNCIE

Saturday, 2 a.m.

The sharp profile has not changed. Neither has his uniform.

Still, Steven Stamkos is back, and for the Tampa Bay Lightning, that has to mean something.

Stamkos saw his first action of the preseason Friday night in a 3-1 victory over the Nashville Predators. Stamkos had his first assist of two only 33 seconds into the game. In all, he played 19:05 of the game for the Bolts and finished with two assists.

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Nikita Kucherov scored a goal for the Lightning./STEVEN MUNCIE

Nikita Kucherov scored a goal for the Lightning./STEVEN MUNCIE

"It was nice to just go through a game day," Stamkos said. "I haven’t done it in a long time... I was glad with how the first one went. It was a good start. Something to build on."

Lightning coach Jon Cooper also liked what he saw.

“I don’t think you lose your instincts," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "He’s got a lot of miles left.”

For the Lightning, Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman and Yanni Gourde all scored goals.

Tampa Bay goaltender Alexander Vasilevskiy stopped 29 of 30 shots.

Forward Ryan Callahan, also returning from injury, had an assist.

“(Cally) had jump, energy, and he felt really well," Cooper said. "Same with Stammer... It was fun to have all those guys on the ice.”

Victor Hedman scored a goal in Lightning win./STEVEN MUNCIE

Victor Hedman scored a goal in Lightning win./STEVEN MUNCIE

Stamkos said earlier in the day that the game was one step toward getting ready for the season opener.

"Obviously, it's been a while since I've played in a game," Stamkos said. "I'm really anxious and excited to get this one going tonight. Training camp's gone extremely well. We've worked hard, look great. I feel even better than I thought I would coming in, so it's all been positive and this is another step in getting prepared for October 6.

"Unfortunately, this is a sport where it's very, very tough to duplicate game scenarios without playing in a game," Stamkos said. "So, tonight will be a good start. Again, it's not regular season. It's a little different, but I'm hoping to use these preseason games just like everyone else in this room, to get prepared and to get ready and get the timing back.

 

Andrei Vasilevsiky stops a shot from Salomaki./STEVEN MUNCIE

Andrei Vasilevsiky stops a shot from Salomaki./STEVEN MUNCIE

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