Goal Number: 100
Date: December 20, 2010
Opponent: Carolina Hurricanes
Victim: Justin Peters
Did the Lightning Win?: Yup
Playing in his 33rd game of the season, Steven Stamkos had already accumulated 25 goals. While he was a bit behind the pace, whispers of “50 in 50” started to circulate among the fans and the bloggers. He was coming off a 50-goal season the previous year and was continuing to fulfill the hype that had preceded his number one selection in the draft two years previous.
He was also flourishing under new coach Guy Boucher’s system, as was the entire team. They had leaped out to a 7-2-1 start, stumbled a bit in November, but were in the midst of a 6-0-2 stretch when Stamkos scored his 100th goal.
The goal itself will not go down as his prettiest. With the Lightning up 3-1 in the second period and on the power play, Stamkos won the face-off. Well, he tied up the sticks as the Carolina center kicked it out to the point where Marty St. Louis was waiting. St. Louis passed it to Teddy Purcell, who immediately passed it back because that’s what Teddy Purcell does. St. Louis stepped up and blasted a shot through traffic.
Peters made the initial stop, but can feel the puck trickle underneath him. He tried to flop on it, but Stamkos spotted the puck first and poked it into the net before the young netminder could fall on it. Goal scorers always manage to get themselves in position to score goals. Sometimes all they have to do is tap it in.
At 20 years and 316 days, Stamkos was the 6th player to reach 100 goals before they could legally drink a beer in the United States. The other five? Wayne Gretzky, Jimmy Carson, Brian Bellows, Dale Hawerchuk and Ilya Kovalchuk. Sid Crosby would have been on this list if an injury in 2007-08 hadn’t limited him to 53 games.
Stamkos was his typical humble self after the game, telling the press, “It’s obviously nice to have that accomplishment.” Pretty sure he was talking about the 100 goals, not the fact that he did it on the night the Lightning gave away a bobblehead with his likeness on it.
It was a doubly historic night for the Lightning when later in the game, Vincent Lecavalier added his 750th point when he assisted on Sean Bergenheim’s goal.
Stamkos wouldn’t accomplish the 50-in-50, in fact he wouldn’t even crack the 50 goal plateau as he struggled down the stretch. The Lightning succeeded despite his second-half slump, as they rode Dwayne Roloson to a 7th game in the Eastern Conference finals. Stamkos ended up with 45 goals and 91 points, his second of three 90-point campaigns.