TAMPA -- Steven Stamkos is accustomed to gamesmanship such as trash talking and "little jabs" from opponents' sticks after the whistle.
But the Lightning star could not recall anything quite like what happened after the second period of Game 2 against the Rangers Monday in the teams' Eastern Conference final.
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After Tanner Glass dislodged Stamkos' stick from his hands near the Rangers bench as time expired, the Rangers' Derick Brassard saw it on the ice as he left the bench, picked it up and started taking to the dressing room.
Stamkos followed him, creating the odd scene of a guy in a white sweater joining all of the blue-shirted Rangers as they left the ice.
"I just wanted my stick back," he said Wednesday after the Lightning's morning stake before Game 3, giving a nod to Brassard's effort to annoy or anger him while insisting it did not work.
"I think that's the most creative one I've seen. I've never had someone try to steal my stick and take it to the dressing room. Elbow pad thrown at me and a stick-stealing? That's pretty good in one playoff."
In Game 2 at Montreal, which like Game 2 in New York ended in a 6-2 Tampa victory, the Canadiens' Brandon Prust threw one of his elbow pads into the Lightning bench. Stamkos picked it up and tossed it into the crowd.
What was Brassard thinking? "I was on the bench and I guess he couldn't pick up the stick there and when the period was over we kind of skate the other way so it was in my way so I just took it," he said before Game 3.
"I just took one step and he was at the door there and I just gave it to him. He told me after if I wanted his stick I just had to ask him."
Brassard said there was no rancor on either end of the incident, saying, "No, it was just like oh, he doesn't want it. He came back and said, 'I need my stick. So I just gave it to him.'"
Stamkos scored a goal in the third period with it. "So it all worked out," he said.