Twitter is a complicated website/app/social media platform. For all of the acrimony that normally floats around on that site, occasionally there is something that comes along and provides a few minute of fun distraction. Yesterday it was a simple hypothetical presented by a MLB website:
This holiday season, you're gifted with 2 tickets to a game of the past.— Cut4 (@Cut4) December 7, 2019
Which game are you traveling back to see live?
Being a baseball site, most of the responses were World Series games (including an inordinate amount of gifs showing the Cubs winning the World Series). That seems to be a normal response and if we flip it to hockey, more specifically, Lightning history, chances are Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup would be the top choice for many.
Other classic games would probably include the first game in franchise history (Chris Kontos’ four-goal night), the 1999 NHL All Star game, Game 7 of the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals against the Rangers, Game 7 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals against the Bruins (even though it was a loss, it was a great game), well basically all of the Game 7’s in franchise history.
For the record, I did have a chance to Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup (I may have missed a mortgage payment that month, but I could have gone) and I turned it down. In hindsight, I’m glad I did because I was a nervous wreck for the entire game. It’s really hard to pace back-and-forth when you’re supposed to be sitting in a seat in an arena.
Now, one of the questions I would ask the mythical bestower of these historical tickets would be if when I went back did I have knowledge of what would happen in that game. I think, in order for maximum effect, the memory of the game would have to be wiped. Knowing what’s going to happen, and when it’s going to happen, kind of saps some of the enjoyment.
Personally, I’m going to go with a regular season game. Not only a regular season game, but one in which the Lightning had a rather bad season. No matter what happens in a Game 7, you already know it’s going to be great win or lose. When something great happens in a regular season game, there is an extra level of joy. So my choice is April 7th, 2012. The Lightning were out of the playoff hunt and they were closing out the season in Winnipeg.
So why this game? First of all, the most pass-first-shoot-never forward in the history of the organization, Teddy Purcell, had a hat trick (the second of his career with the Lightning). but more importantly, Steven Stamkos finished off the greatest goal-scoring season in the history of the Lightning.
Too often in sports prospects don’t live up to the hype or athletes come up just short of great accomplishments. On that day, in front of 15,004 Manitobans, the second most hyped prospect in Lightning history accomplished a feat that hasn’t been duplicated since - he scored his 60th goal of the season.
It wasn’t a given that Stamkos would get to 60, after all he had to score 4 goals in the previous 4 games just to get to 59. Always a master of suspense, Stamkos kept everyone waiting until three minutes into third period before recording the historic goal.
Such was the feat that the opposing crowd gave him a standing ovation despite the fact that the goal gave the Lightning a 3-1 lead (two goals by Jim Slater sent the game to overtime where Purcell put home the game winner).
There have been countless Game 7s and the Stanley Cup has been handed out for over 100 years, but there have only been 20 players to score 60 or more goals in a season. So, what about y’all? If a magical ticket genie bestowed two tickets to any game in Lightning history, which one would it be?
The Game vs. the Sharks
The Lightning won! And they dominated on the scoreboard [Raw Charge]
Carter Verhaeghe finally found the back of the net. [Tampa Bay Times]
The Crunch won as well. That’s two in a row for the Lightning affiliate. [Syracuse Crunch]
Cory Conacher talked about his recent call-ups. [Crunch Twitter]
Remember all that lovely ‘shipping we did with Erik Karlsson and the Lightning? Well, it was never a “viable” option. Boo. [The Mercury News]
The rest of the League
A Jersey Foul featuring a former Lightning player and the effects of a longer overtime in the ECHL. [ESPN]
Some defensemen who may be changing addresses around the trade deadline [The Hockey News]
Phil Kessel received a two-minute ovation in his return to Pittsburgh the other night. How has the trade worked out for the two sides involved? [Pensburgh]
Tampa native Declan Farmer scored a goal as the U.S. Men’s team won their sixth-consecutive Para Hockey Cup Title. [USA Hockey]