The Lightning are hitting the road for four games against playoff contenders, starting at Nashville. But Steven Stamkos will not get back in the game until the Bolts' next homestand, maybe next Thursday.
Head coach Jon Cooper says circle that date, and if Stammer's not cleared by doctors then circle the next game, then the next.
Stamkos is staying patient.
"I feel great out there so I can just go based on how my body feels. I don't feel I have any limitations... just kind of anxiously waiting," he said.
The Lightning insist they are not anxious with the NHL trade deadline looming Wednesday. Players don't consider trade rumors -- even talk about Bolts captain Marty St. Louis -- distractions.
The Lightning take a realistic look at the 23 games on the schedule. Coach Cooper considers the 14 home games likely two-point games -- not must-win, but likely-to-win games. He's more realistic when it comes to games away from the Forum.
"It'd be a crying shame if we go through here and don't pull some points out of this," said Cooper. "And we always have this motto... we go on the road, get more points than games played. We have four so we'd like to get that. Naturally we'd like to get eight points; realistically we pull five out of this trip. We'd be pretty happy coming home for that stretch."
Lightning players agree this final stretch should be exciting with the Lightning second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference standings.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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