Hockey-Reference.com is an invaluable web site for me when I’m researching for articles. While it has it’s limits, and I do fill in those gaps with other web sites, it provides some data and tools that are unique to it. The biggest one is their Game Finder. It allows you to put in a variety of variables and come up with all sorts of information. I actually did an article over the summer exploring some of these weird Tampa Bay Lightning related tidbits.
Another tool that Hockey-Reference gives us is the Goal Finder. This is a more recent edition to their web site, but it is no less interesting. With the Goal Finder you can search up all sorts of information about goals scored by certain players, in different months, on their birthday, home or away, against a certain goalie, or even in a particular arena. They also can let you search by their career goal number.
Like if I wanted to see who had assisted on the first 10 of Vincent Lecavalier’s goals, I could search that up pretty easily. Since we’re already here, 13 different players assisted on his first ten goals, one goal was unassisted, the Lightning went 2-5-2-1 in those games, two were on the power play the rest at even strength, they were scored on ten different goaltenders, and six were scored at home.
Current Lightning Players’ First Career Goals
So, just for fun, let’s take a quick run through of the Lightning’s current roster and play with the goal finder. Let’s start by taking a look at each player’s first career goal.
- Anthony Cirelli - Victor Hedman, Chris Kunitz against Ben Bishop.
- Yanni Gourde - Unassisted, shorthanded against James Reimer.
- Tyler Johnson - Alex Killorn, Cory Conacher against Justin Peters.
- Mathieu Joseph - Anthony Cirelli, Anton Stralman against Craig Anderson.
- Alex Killorn - Matt Carle against Jose Theodore.
- Nikita Kucherov - Teddy Purcell, Eric Brewer against Henrik Lundqvist.
- Pat Maroon - Kyle Palmieri, Francois Beauchemin against Pekka Rinne.
- Ondrej Palat - Sami Salo, Tyler Johnson against Justin Peters.
- Cedric Paquette - Jonathan Drouin against Jonas Hiller.
- Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov, Valtteri Filppula against Cory Schneider.
- Steven Stamkos - Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis against Ryan Miller.
- Carter Verhaeghe - Still waiting, unless he scored last night against the Penguins after I wrote this article and I haven’t updated it before being published.
- Luke Witkowski - Anthony Mantha, Justin Abdelkader against Juuse Saros.
- Erik Cernak - Ryan Callahan, Cedric Paquette against Henrik Lundqvist.
- Braydon Coburn - Alexandre Picard, Mike Richards against Marc-Andre Fleury.
- Victor Hedman - Vincent Lecavalier, Alex Tanguay against Dwayne Roloson.
- Ryan McDonagh - Vinny Prospal, Marian Gaborik against Martin Brodeur.
- Jan Rutta - Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith against Joonas Korpisalo.
- Mikhail Sergachev - Vladislav Namestnikov, Steven Stamkos against Sergei Bobrovsky.
- Kevin Shattenkirk - Milan Hejduk, John-Michael Liles against Antero Niitymaki.
For these 20 current Lightning skaters, their first goals were assisted by 33 different players with Vincent Lecavalier being the only player to appear twice, fittingly on the two franchise cornerstones he passed the torch to in Stamkos and Hedman. Of those 33 players, seven are currently on the roster and one more is with the Syracuse Crunch (Cory Conacher).
17 different goalies appeared with Henrik Lundqvist and Justin Peters being the only goalies to appear twice. Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson’s first career goals came in the same game against Justin Peters. One goal was scored shorthanded, three on the power play, and the rest at even strength.
First Career Goals Scored Against
I know this one is not quite as fun, but I wanted to take a look at Andrei Vasilevskiy and Curtis McElhinney and learn a little bit more about the times that they gave up the first career goal to a player.
Andrei Vasilevskiy has given up the first career goal to six different players. Two came in the same game. All six goals came in losses and at home. Five of the six goals came in the first period with the last one coming in the second period. The average age of the six players is 22.66 years old.
Curtis McElhinney has allowed the first career goal to five different players. In contrast to Vasilevskiy, four of his came on the road and just one at home. Three goals came in the first period and two in the third period. All five goals were at even strength. The average age of the five players was 22.2 years old.
Franchise Details about First Career Goals
89 players in total have recorded their first career goal with the Lightning. The first player was Roman Hamrlik on 10/20/1992. He was one of four Lightning players to score their first goal in Expo Hall. Chris Gratton was the first to score his first goal in the Thunderdome. Daymond Langkow was the first Lightning player to score his first career goal in the Ice Palace and what is today known as Amalie Arena.
Vincent Lecavalier holds the record for most assists on a first career goal for a Lightning player with seven. Martin St. Louis, Teddy Purcell, and Tim Taylor come in at second with four. Alex Killorn and Nikita Kucherov are the Lightning’s active leaders with three a piece.
66 different goaltenders have given up a Lightning player’s first career goal. Two were empty net goals. The record for the most is three held by Chris Osgood, Justin Peters, Olaf Kolzig, Ron Hextall, and Stephane Fiset. Carolina has given up the most to the Lightning with eight players getting their first goal against the Hurricanes. Four goals each were given up by the Atlanta Thrashers and Quebec Nordiques which have both since moved and been renamed.
The oldest player to record his first career NHL goal with the Lightning was Eric Perrin. He recorded the goal shorthanded into an empty net against the Philadelphia Flyers on 11/2/2006. The end of this gave is fairly interesting. The Flyers’ Peter Forsberg was given a high sticking and unsportsmanlike conduct minor at 15:50 of the third period along with a ten minute misconduct while the Flyers trailed 3-2 after scoring two goals in the third period to get back into the game.
Seven seconds after the first minor expired, Johan Holmqvist was called for high sticking putting the teams to four-on-four. Vincent Lecavalier scored an empty net goal and then 12 seconds later, Brad Richards was called for a tripping, putting the Lightning down to four-on-three shorthanded. Eric Perrin then was able to score in to the empty net while short handed for his first career goal.
Pardon me while I go on a side tangent here about Eric Perrin because his career is pretty interesting. Perrin is a Canadian center from Laval, Quebec. Instead of going the major junior route, he played NCAA hockey for the University of Vermont. Guess what other Lightning legend was from Laval and went to the University of Vermont? I’ll give you a moment and then you can do down to the next paragraph and find out.
Perrin spent four seasons at Vermont recording 90 goals and 265 points in 138 games. He was named to the ECAC All-Rookie Team and was ECAC Rookie of the Year. He also was a first team All-American, ECAC Player of the Year, and Hobey Baker Finalist as a junior. So who was his teammate? Well, that would be Martin St. Louis.
The two friends even started their professional careers together playing for the Cleveland Lumberjacks in the IHL. After that though is where their careers would diverge. St. Louis moved to the Saint John Flames in the AHL and eventually to the NHL with the Calgary Flames and then the Tampa Bay Lightning. Perrin on the other hand would remain in the IHL with the Quebec Rafales and Kansas City Blades through 1999-00. While St. Louis was heading to the Lightning, Perrin headed overseas to Finland.
Perrin spent three years putting up good numbers in Finland and was signed as a free agent by the Lightning for the 2003-04 season. He tore up the AHL with the Hershey Bears and played in four regular season games. He then also played in 12 playoff games recording one assist as the Lightning made their way to the Stanley Cup Championship. The team requested Perrin’s name be included on the Cup as he played in four Conference Championship games, but that request was denied. However, he still got to take a trip around the ice with the Stanley Cup and shared that moment with his young daughter; which is the photo for this article.
[Update:] Eric Perrin’s daughter Alyssa contacted me on Twitter to correct one thing from this article. The petition to have his name added to the Cup was eventually granted. The only pictures I could find on the internet of the Lightning’s section of the Stanley Cup was missing the bottom row of names which include Ben Clymer, Darren Rumble, Stanislav Neckar, and Eric Perrin. Rumble, Neckar, and Perrin were all petitions to be added as they did not automatically qualify. Thank you to Alyssa Perrin for providing the below picture showing his name on the Cup.
Back to the 2006-07 season, Perrin would go on to score 12 more goals that year after his short handed, empty netter, and 32 total in his NHL career that continued with two more seasons with the Atlanta Thrashers. As crazy as it is that Perrin scored his first goal when he was 31, he was still playing as of last season in Finland recording 15 goals and 34 points in 56 games at the age of 43. He has officially retired.