Tampa sat in the driver’s seat in the Stanley Cup finals when he knocked Dallas 5-2. Tampa now leads the best of seven series 2-1.

Steven Stamkos returned to the trough in the third final after a seven-month break. The Tampa skipper didn’t take long, as he was already inking the top shelf with icing at just under seven minutes.

– It was amazing to share that experience with my teammates, Stamkos was enthusiastic after the game in an interview with nhl.com.

The star striker did not want to comment after the game on why he has been on the sidelines for so long.

– A lot of things have happened behind the scenes and a lot of work has been done. The opportunity to get into the game and make an impact on what didn’t seem possible a month ago … It was amazing that I got to be a part of the big win. I was just happy to be influenced in a game where I didn’t play much.

So. Stamkos eventually played just two minutes and 47 seconds. He was in the locker room at times, but then returned to the bench to tease his playmates. The man did not visit the ice after the opening round.

– He only played five substitutions, but they were probably the most effective substitutions you will ever see, Tampa’s coach Jon Cooper pondered.

Cooper was certainly right, as with the return of Stamkos, Tampa played his best game in the final series.

– There’s a reason he wears the letter C on his shirt, Kevin Shattenkirk stated.

– Our feelings were high when we got him there. He scored a goal for us, which was a huge, huge thing. It fed us, Anthony Cirelli in turn glowed.