Stephenson was originally a game-time decision heading into Tuesday’s matchup.
On Monday, head coach Peter DeBoer indicated that Stephenson’s return was close. The 27-year-old has been out of the lineup since Game 2 due to an upper-body injury and took part in an optional morning skate Tuesday.
“We’ve played basically this series without our No. 1 centre so far. Obviously, we want to get him back in the lineup and I think that’s on the horizon,” DeBoer said Monday.
Stephenson is in the midst of the most productive year of his career, finding success skating on a line between Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty. He set career highs with 14 goals and 35 points during the pandemic-shortened regular season and has six assists in 14 playoff games so far.
The Golden Knights have struggled to replace Stephenson in the series against the Canadiens, shifting a number of players, including Alex Tuch, Nic Roy and Keegan Kolesar, into the top centre role with mixed results. That, combined with impressive defending by the Canadiens, has seen Stone and Pacioretty limited to just two combined assists so far.
Sportsnet has complete coverage of the pivotal Game 5 between the Golden Knights and Canadiens on Tuesday night. You can watch the game on Sportsnet and SN Now beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.