For Tampa Bay Lightning fans, this Steven Stamkos goal has been a long time coming, and it was a classic. Stamkos has not played a game for the Lightning since November 15, 2016 against the Detroit Red Wings, due to a meniscus tear that ended his season early and led to a Masterton nomination.
In the second period of a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Bolts found themselves on the powerplay. After chasing the puck behind Antti Niemi in the Pittsburgh Penguins net, Vladislav Namestnikov sent the puck along the boards to Nikita Kucherov, to the goalie’s left.
This Lightning power play is insane. It's just Stamkos, Kucherov and Hedman teeing off on one-timers while the Penguins turtle for dear life— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) October 13, 2017
Kucherov made a small pass to Alex Killorn, who was ignoring the traditional powerplay setup to play far forward in the zone. Killorn in turn sent the puck back to Namestnikov when he emerged from behind the net on Niemi’s blocker side. Namestnikov realized that Penguins #8, Brian Dumoulin, was leaving a certain Stamkos all alone in his “office” on the stick-side circle, and sent Stamkos a little cross-crease pass that had Niemi flailing to cover it.
And Stamkos, whose stick had been profiled earlier in the game, used his classic slapshot to send the puck home above Niemi’s stick.
The result? Not just any powerplay goal, but a franchise-record-tying one: powerplay goal 112, to tie Vinny Lecavalier’s record.
It’s been a long time since the sweet sounds of Hammer Time has rained down over the cheering crowds of Amalie Arena — since a game on November 12, 2016, against the San Jose Sharks — and may we never have that long of a hiatus during Stamkos’s LIghtning career again.