Stamkos skates, but ‘still a real possibility’ he won’t play in playoffs

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If anyone’s counting on Steven Stamkos to rescue the Tampa Bay Lightning, they shouldn’t.

“There’s still a real possibility that I won’t play at all in the playoffs,” Stamkos told reporters today.

“Nothing’s changed. No update. Still in a holding pattern,” he said.

Stamkos has not played since March 31 due to a blood clot that was found in his arm.

The Lightning survived the first two rounds of the playoffs without their captain, but the Pittsburgh Penguins have them down 2-1 in the Eastern Conference Final. Game 4 goes tomorrow in Tampa.

The Penguins have dominated the series, outshooting the Bolts by a combined 124-69.

“The volume of shots we’re giving up and some of the chances we’re giving up are just way too many,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said last night after Game 3, a 4-2 loss.

“We’ve gone through multiple playoff games, and we don’t give this up in, gosh, two or three games combined.”

Stamkos says he could still return at some point in the series. After skating today, he even gave himself a slim chance of playing tomorrow.

But with those kind of odds, if the Lightning are going to get back in this series, they’ll most likely have to do it without him.

“The thing with this situation, there’s no data out there to support whether coming back earlier than the initial prognosis is safe or not, if there’s elevated risks or not,” Stamkos said.

“You have to just do your best to gather as many opinions, gather as much information as possible so you’re well-educated on the risks if you do come back, realizing that it’s not worth the risk. So we haven’t reached that stage yet.”