BOSTON (AP) - Tampa Bay Lightning star center Steven Stamkos was taken off the ice on a stretcher with a broken right leg after crashing into the post against Boston.
"It's obviously tough to see him go down, not only for our team, he's one of the best players in the world," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "People come out to cheer the Boston Bruins here, and they come to see Steven Stamkos play hockey. It's a loss for everybody."
The Lightning said on their Twitter site the star suffered a broken right tibia. General manager Steve Yzerman said that Stamkos is expected to have surgery on Tuesday.
"At this point Steven will be out indefinitely," Yzerman said in a statement. "The medical staff in Boston, in consultation with our team physicians, has made the decision to surgically repair the injury.
"The procedure is expected to take place tomorrow morning. The biggest concern for me, and the rest of the Lightning, is that decisions are made in Steven's best long-term interest, and we feel this is the appropriate course of action."
Teammate Martin St. Louis didn't know how bad it was when the locker room opened after the game.
"He's a big part of our team, but we don't know the severity of it, so we're going to wait and hear," he said. "Obviously he's a big part of our team."
The team's leading scorer and one of the top players in the league, Stamkos was backchecking on a play late in the second period Monday when he got tied up with Boston defenseman Dougie Hamilton. The pair went into the net hard.
Stamkos immediately grabbed his right leg and was rolling on the ice in pain.
After a brief delay, a stretcher was brought out and he was taken off to loud applause. As he was carted off, he put both hands to his face in apparent pain.
Stamkos collided with Hamilton and fell to the ice just before crashing into the right post. His left skate appeared to hit the post first before his right leg crashed into it around the shin area. He tried to get up twice before going down to the ice in pain, grabbing his leg just above the ankle.
On TV replays he appeared to tell a teammate, "It's broken," before the trainer got out to him.
Stamkos entered the day tied for the league lead in scoring with Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby.