Stamkos gets the ‘green light’ to return to Bolts lineup

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We’ll let the man make the big announcement for himself:

Steven Stamkos last played on Nov. 11, when he broke his right tibia in a game in Boston. He’d hoped to be back in time to play for Canada at the Olympics; alas, it wasn’t to be.

The Lightning have carried on well without their elite sniper, going 22-18-5 since starting the season 12-5-0 with Stamkos (14 goals, 9 assists) in the lineup. At this point, it would take a tremendous collapse for the team to miss the playoffs.

Tampa Bay plays its next six games at home, including tomorrow’s contest versus Buffalo. If there’s a challenge for Jon Cooper’s troops, it could be making sure nobody lets their foot off the gas now that their best player is back.

The Lightning have a real chance to make some noise in the playoffs. As it stands right now, they’re likely to play either Montreal, Toronto, or Detroit in the first round.