No Stamkos tonight versus Bruins

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Steven Stamkos will not return for the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight in Boston (on NBCSN).

Stamkos (knee) didn’t participate in line rushes this morning, and he stayed on the ice after his teammates left. Head coach Jon Cooper then confirmed that his captain would not play.

This is essentially a must-win game for the Bolts. Four points back of Boston for the second wild-card spot, a loss would cripple their already-slim playoff hopes.

But the long-term health of their star forward takes precedence over a slightly better chance to beat the Bruins.

Forward J.T. Brown and d-man Jason Garrison will also miss tonight’s contest with injuries.