Last night, Steven Stamkos scored his 900th career point en route to a Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. With that win, and a subsequent Florida Panthers loss, the Lightning have jumped both them and the Leafs for first place in the Atlantic Division and NHL overall.
After the start they’ve had, and more importantly injuries they’ve incurred, it’s incredible that they have been able to get back to the top of the standings before we turned the calendar to 2022.
While it’s fully been a team effort from everyone in the organization — from Andrei Vasilevskiy, the players, Coach Cooper, and JBB bringing in extra bodies — this team couldn’t have been this good without the team’s original franchise players: Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman.
Stamkos has 34 points in 23 games this season, putting him FIFTH IN THE NHL IN POINTS, and ahead of Matthews, Panarin, and Huberdeau. Meanwhile, Hedman has 30 points in 29 games, putting him second in NHL defenseman points behind Adam Fox and 17th overall. For Hedman, this is the fastest any Lightning defenseman has reached 30 points in a season, beating his own record from last season.
With two points tonight, Victor Hedman has hit the 30-point mark and sets a franchise record for fewest games to 30 points by a defenseman (29 GP), besting the previous mark of 30 games he set last season. #GoBolts #OTTvsTBL— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) December 17, 2021
Stamkos thanked the fans for the ovation after the game, saying how excited he is to get 100 more.
Steven Stamkos on reaching the 900-pt. milestone and the standing ovation from the crowd. "A hundred more and that’d be a really nice one, but you have to get to this to get to there. Nice to do it at home in front of fans. That was definitely appreciated by me." #GoBolts— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) December 17, 2021
With an assist on Hedman's goal, Stamkos has tallied his 900th career point.— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) December 17, 2021
Congrats, Stammer!! pic.twitter.com/UULQd6wiZ5
Here is our recap from last night. Killorn, Colton, and Raddysh all had good nights too. Oh, and Vasy was Vasy.
“In the win, captain Steven Stamkos earned his 900th career point and got a standing ovation from the home crowd for the achievement. He’s on 53 points behind Martin St. Louis for the franchise record in points, which he can probably get within the next year or so. And at only 31 years old, there’s a good chance he’ll be the first player in franchise history to hit 1000 points with the team.”
In other news, check out this interview with former Syracuse Crunch forward Jimmy Huntington.
As of last night, half of NHL teams are under COVID-19 protocol. The Calgary Flames are completely shut down with almost all the players in protocol, Nashville too, and teams like Boston getting ever-growing lists. A lot of teams last night played with fewer than 20 players in the lineup simply because too many were out and the AHL is experiencing similar outbreaks at the moment.
There have been calls from many to increase safety measures for players and staff, or even shut the league down until after the Christmas break. At the very least they should institute Taxi Squads again so teams don’t have to go out there with 16 skaters and one contracted goalie like the Avalanche did last night.
Pause the season until after Christmas ? This is ridiculous https://t.co/4Lyekdd906— Nick Cousins (@Cous27) December 16, 2021
Ontario has reduced building capacity for the Leafs, Senators, and their others sports teams to 50%, while Quebec announced no fans in attendance for last night’s Habs vs. Flyers games.
BREAKING: There will be no fans in attendance at the Bell Centre for tonight's Montreal Canadiens game against the Philadelphia Flyers, as the province of Quebec looks to navigate a rise in COVID-19 cases seen across the country.https://t.co/fnSRA0KMPz— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 16, 2021
Decisions are apparently being made on an ad hoc per-team basis, which has alarmed a lot of fans and confused even more players. You have to wonder what the NHL and NHLPA are going to do about this.
Per Anthony Duclair, the Florida Panthers were not given the chance to vote despite missing seven players. https://t.co/L4ntoxyZcg— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) December 17, 2021