Five minutes into the second period in the game against the Montreal Canadiens Mitchell Stephens streaked through the neutral zone and pounced on a puck that was floating harmlessly all by itself after it had deflected off of a Montreal player. Stephens’ first shot was stopped by Carey Price, but the rookie followed up and poked the rebound past the veteran goaltender.
In doing so he picked up the first goal of his NHL career.
As GeoFitz pointed out, Stephens became the 36th player to record his first goal against Price. Other players on that list include his teammate Luke Schenn (who did it a decade ago) and former Lightning greats J.T. Wyman (12/29/2011) and David Koci (3/26/2009). Man, Price has been around for awhile.
He also becomes the tenth Lightning player to record his first goal in the month of December (and the second this season as Carter Verhaeghe scored his first earlier this month). Stephens joins Jeff Toms (1996) as the only players in Lightning history to record the feat on December 28th.
By deflecting the puck to Victor Hedman, Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up a secondary assist on the play. He joins Daren Puppa as the only Lightning goaltenders to assist on a teammate’s first goal. Puppa had the honor of assisting on the first of Vincent Lecavalier’s 421 career goals. Not bad company for the Russian netminder.
For Hedman, it’s the second time he’s assisted on a first goal, the first time was back in March of 2018 when he set up Anthony Cirelli. Lecavalier and Teddy Purcell have the most primary assists on first player’s goals with four (Lecavalier leads in total assists with seven).
Stephens became the 91st player in Lighting history to record a goal, fitting that he would do it on a night when Number 91, Steven Stamkos, recorded his 800th career point.
The Game against the Canadiens:
Things didn’t start out great on Saturday night as Montreal jumped to an early 2-0 lead, but the Lightning fought back and walked away with the 5-4 victory. [Raw Charge]
As mentioned, captain Steven Stamkos, picked up career point number 800 with his second period goal. He joins Marty St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier as the only players to hit that mark in a Lightning uniform. [MSN Sports]
Not a great night for the Syracuse Crunch unless you’re hoping they somehow trade for Vitali Abramov. The Russian winger had a hat trick, and his Binghamton Devils teammates added five other goals as they embarrassed the Crunch 8-2 on Saturday night. Cal Foote had a goal and an assist in the loss. [Syracuse Crunch]
Mathieu Joseph rejoined the Lightning as he continued his busy week shuttling back and forth from Syracuse [Syracuse Crunch]
The big news from the tournament happened on Day Three (stay tuned for her thoughts later) when the consensus number one pick in the 2020 draft, Alexis Lafreniere suffered a knee injury in Canada’s 6-0 loss against Russia. [The Score]
Sorry All Star fans, no Alex Ovechkin for you. The Washington Capitals superstar is going to skip the festivities this year in order to be ready for the playoffs. He’ll get an extra day to rest in addition to the break as the decision will cost him a one-game suspension. [Sports Illustrated]
The injury bug comes to Buffalo as Jeff Skinner is scheduled to miss three to four weeks due to a shoulder injury. That’s not going to help a team that is already struggling with offense. [Die by the Blade]
If today is your birthday - Happy Birthday! You share it with former Lightning defenseman Filip Kuba (who scored his first goal against Felix Potvin). Kuba played two seasons with Tampa Bay and recorded 68 points (21 goals, 47 assists) before being traded to Ottawa with Alexandre Picard and a first round pick for Andrej Meszaros.