Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos underwent successful surgery Tuesday in Boston to stabilize a fracture in his right tibia, and the team said he's expected to return to Tampa on Thursday to begin rehabilitation immediately.
The Lightning said no prospective timetable has been set for his return to the ice.
Stamkos was injured during the second period of Tampa Bay's 3-0 loss to the Boston Bruins on Monday. He was backchecking against Boston defenseman Dougie Hamilton when he lost his footing. His left foot hit and dislodged the net, and his right leg swung around and struck the post. Stamkos tried twice to get up, but could not and had to be taken off on a stretcher.
It was the first major injury of Stamkos' career. He was scratched three times as a rookie during the 2008-09 season and will miss his first game since then when the Lightning visit the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.
The Lightning entered Tuesday first in the Eastern Conference with a 12-5-0 record and 24 points. Stamkos is tied with Alexander Steen of the St. Louis Blues for the NHL lead in goals with 14, as well as for the lead in points with Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins with 23.