Lightning captain Steven Stamkos expected to be ready for regular season

Tampa Bay Lighting captain Steven Stamkos. (Mark Blinch/CP)

The Tampa Bay Lightning expect to have captain Steven Stamkos back in the lineup for the start of the regular season, according to general manager Julien BriseBois.

Stamkos has been recovering from a lower abdominal core muscle injury which he suffered prior to the NHL's return to play. The 30-year-old returned for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Dallas Stars, but played just 2:47 -- all in the first period -- and scored a goal in his team's win.

Stamkos ranked second on the Lightning with 29 goals and 66 points in 57 regular-season games. Tampa Bay will be without star forward Nikita Kucherov who had hip surgery and will miss the 2020-21 regular season.

The Lightning open the upcoming season at home against the Chicago Blackhawks on opening night.

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