Despite playing in only 37 games due to a pesky broken leg, Steven Stamkos still managed to score 25 goals during the 2013-14 season. It was the fifth season in a row he cracked that mark, a streak that is likely to end at seven due to time that he’s missed this year. While officially he scored 25 goals, he actually put 26 over the goal line that season. Unfortunately, the NHL doesn’t recognize goals you score into your own net, no matter how far away you score them from.
After battling back from a two-goal deficit, the Lightning were going on the power play after Cory Conacher hooked Ryan Malone. Ben Bishop was out of the net and the extra attacker was on. Stamkos got the puck below the circles and fired a cross-ice pass to…..Ryan Malone in the slot? Michael Kostka at the point?
Whoever it was didn’t get the memo, and the pass ricocheted off the boards into the empty net 200 feet away from where he stood. Kind of impressive in a way.
Conacher was the last Sabre to touch the puck so he earned the rare feat of scoring a goal and recording a penalty at the same exact time. It was Conacher’s seventh goal of the season. It was also the last goal he would score in a Sabres uniform.
As always, Stamkos downplayed his talent for scoring goals, telling the Tampa Tribune,
“There is not much you can do, you just have to hope that it hits a snow bank or something . . . and of course it takes a perfect bounce, I probably couldn’t [do] that in another 50 tries if I had the chance.”
There should probably be a rule in the NHL that if you score into your own net on a delayed penalty the infraction is cancelled out due to sheer ineptitude. Luckily for the Lightning their middle of the pack power play unit came through after Stamkos’s gaffe. Ryan Callahan bailed out the team by scoring on the ensuing power play to tie the game back up. In overtime, Stamkos found his own redemption by scoring in overtime to win the game.
If you ever wonder why coaches always look like someone kicked their dog, just look to this game against Buffalo.
The Lightning gave up two goals to a not very good, probably pretty bad Sabres team (they were 20-45-9 going into the game) - okay, bad.
Tampa came back to tie the game - good!
Buffalo committed a penalty - good!
Stamkos banks the puck into his own net - bad!
Lightning scored on the power play - good!
When Coach Cooper woke up that morning he probably penciled in 2 points and went about his day. Fifteen hours later he was sweating out overtime against a very bad team and wondering why he left the ho-hum life of law. In the end it all worked out. The Lightning got their points, and made it into the playoffs.