For today’ trip down Stamkos Lane, three non-random games have been picked. The games have something in common. Don’t think too hard about it.
Game #1 March 21st, 2009 vs Atlanta
The Lightning found themselves down 2-0 to the Thrashers after 20 minutes of play on a Saturday night in March of 2009. Steven Stamkos took matters into his own hands and less than 6 minutes after the puck dropped in the second period, he had single-handedly tied the game.
His first goal came at the 3:50 mark when he tipped home a shot from the point by Lukas Krajicek. It was a nice deflection by the rookie, but the best part of the play came just before the shot. Stamkos and Marty St. Louis were steaming into the offensive zone, and Stamkos made a nice pass to St. Louis who is stoned by Johan Hedberg’s right pad.
The puck was sitting in front of the sprawled out goaltender as Ryan Malone charges the net. Instead of poking the puck past the near-helpless Hedberg, Malone literally skated by the puck and layed a hit on Zach Bogosian. Bugsy obviously felt that 24 goals was enough for him at that point of the season.
The second goal was vintage Stamkos, a howitzer from the right circle on the power play. Yes, kids, Matt Lashoff was once a key part of Lightning power play. A skills competition decided the game with Atlanta getting the extra point for being better at penalty shots. Stamkos failed to score in the shootout, as did every other member of the Lightning that tried that night.
The two-goal game highlighted a 6-game point streak for Stamkos where the rookie scored 4 goals and added 4 assists. The one point the Lightning earned out of that game was one of only five points they picked up over the last twelve games of the season. Hey, it paid off in the form of Victor Hedman!
Game #2 November 22, 2009 at Atlanta
Stamkos celebrated the 46th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination by scoring two points against the Thrashers in Phillips Arena. In the dying seconds of the first period, Stamkos helped Ryan Malone score what was most likely a fantastic goal. Unfortunately there is no footage of it because, as mentioned previously in this series, the game wasn’t televised in either local market.
It was Stamkos’ 23rd point of the season and 9th assist of the year. For Malone, it was his 14th goal of the year, six of which Stamkos recorded an assist on. They were a pretty good pairing for a Lightning team that rebounded from two horrendous seasons to finish third in the Southeast Division with an almost respectable 80 points.
Game #3 March 31, 2010 at Pittsburgh
This was from another game that has been mentioned, albeit briefly, before in this series. The Lightning beat the Penguins 2-0 at Mellon Arena on March 31st, 2010. They wouldn’t record another win in the ‘Burgh during the regular season for nearly 6 years.
Steven Stamkos gave Mike Smith all the offense he would need when the sophomore center recorded his 46th goal of the season 17 minutes into the first period. The goal came from his office, the right circle, a one-timer off a nice feed from St. Louis.
Of all the shots to compare it to, Shea Weber was the first to come to the Pittsburgh announcers mind? How about Alex Ovechkin or Brett Hull? It was also Stamkos’ 21st goal on the power play. Steve Downie added a goal at the end of the period for the second and final goal of the season.
So, three games/plays that have something in common. Whatever could it be?