TAMPA — Of all the positives that came out of the Lightning’s 5-0 win over the Dallas Stars Saturday night at Amalie Arena, one of the biggest might have been the return of center Anthony Cirelli.
When the 23-year-old center last played Feb. 11 in Sunrise, he came off the ice favoring his right arm after taking a hit from Florida center Aleksander Barkov. At the time, Lightning coach Jon Cooper said only that Cirelli’s status was week-to-week, indicating his absence could be a lengthy one.
Cirelli missed six games before returning to the lineup Saturday, scoring a short-handed goal and assisting on an even-strength score while playing on both the penalty kill and power-play units. His 15:54 of ice time was fourth-most among Lightning forwards.
“When I got hurt, I didn’t know what it was right away,” Cirelli said. “The training staff did such a good job in helping me and rehabbing me. I’m good to go now. Obviously, I just have to stay on it, but I’m feeling good.”
Cirelli centered the team’s second line, alongside Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn. Cirelli assisted on Stamkos’ early third-period goal, finding the Lightning captain in the left circle for a one-timer.
“Stammer and Killer are two elite players, and you’re just trying to get them the puck,” Cirelli said. “You see Stammer there, you’re just trying to feed it to him. And with his shot, he can score from anywhere.…