How good was that?
No really. How good was that?
The captain, twirling around on the ice, taking line rushes with his long hair and stranded-on-an-island beard flowing in the breeze was a sight for many a sore-eyed Lightning fan. Then, just three shifts into the game, on a line with Cedric Paquette and Patrick Maroon he delivered. It might have been brief, but it was a classic Steven Stamkos moment.
He reads the play wonderfully coming out of the Lightning zone and has his head up expecting a pass from Victor Hedman. The Big Swede puts on his stick. That’s key. If that puck is even a little behind him, Esa Lindell most likely closes the play off with a nice little hip check.
Instead, Stamkos is able to slide by and has nothing but open ice between him and the goalie. For his first shot in a game in over 200 days all he does is simply go far side and just under the bar. Simple, right?
Anton Khudobin did give a little extra room on the stick side as it looked like he was slightly off his line. Still, that shot was placed perfectly. It gave the Lightning a two-goal lead that they never relinquished on their way to a 5-2 victory.
Stamkos only played two more shifts after that, finishing with just 2:47 of ice time. He remained on the bench for most of the rest of the game, celebrating and cheering on his teammates. His status for the rest of the series is in doubt, but even if he doesn’t play, what an impact he had on his teammates.