By Joe Smith (The Athletic)

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos stood in the middle of the team’s dressing room at Rogers Place Wednesday night, likely knowing he had played his last game of the season.

Stamkos, 30, was coming off an emotional, inspiring return with a goal on his first shot in a Game 3 victory — putting him forever in franchise and playoff lore. But Stamkos had one last message to the group, then two wins away from the elusive Stanley Cup.

“To see the transformation we’ve had from where we were last year to now, it’s unbelievable,” Stamkos told the team. “This is the fucking group, and I’ve fucking got a great feeling, so let’s fucking do this.”

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