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Lightning Round: Congratulations, Steven Stamkos

The Captain hits a special mark

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Dallas Stars v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

“For a guy that a lot of people think is just a shooter, I’ll rub that in their face a little bit that I got the assists first”. Steven Stamkos said it with a smile on his face after notching his 500th career assist in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 5-4 overtime victory over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night. Underneath that smile, though, there seemed to be some truth. Stamkos, the 15-year-veteran, the future hall of famer, the two-time Stanley Cup winner, still loves proving people wrong.

Of course, being known as an elite shooter in the NHL isn’t the worst thing in the world, but Stamkos has always prided himself on becoming a complete player as his career has progressed. For a long time his passing ability has ridden in the shadow of the lethal slapshot that’s made him an All-Star in the league. However, a quick look at the record book shows that he has played the role of set-up man more often then you would think. You would have to go all the way back to the 2014-15 season to find a year when he put up more goals than assists (43 goals, 29 assists).

There will be more accolades for him as the year progresses, namely the honor of joining the 500 goal club. He should also hit 1000 games this year (if my math is right). However, I believe that hitting that mark may mean a little more to him than the 500 goal plateau, something that seemed preordained since his days in junior hockey and his selection as the top pick in the 2008 draft. We all knew he would score goals, but did we think he’d be the ideal teammate as well?

That sense of competitiveness, the desire to show people they might have misconceived notions about his game is something found in a lot of great athletes. It’s a personality trait that helps keep them motivated late into a career where they’ve pretty much done it all. Stamkos manages to come off as pretty laid back most of the time, but there are moments when that competitiveness shows itself, even if it’s with a smile.

Congratulations on the accomplishment, Mr. Stamkos.

Lightning / NHL News

Lightning win in overtime [Raw Charge]

That was a fun one.

Some other notes from the game:

  • Stamkos snapped a 10-game goalless drought with his first goal of November.
  • Killorn has 30 game-winning goals. That ties him for 6th most in franchise history with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat.
  • Brian Elliott has 4 straight wins on the season.
  • The Lightning have scored inside the first two minutes of a game three times. That ties them for the most in the league with Colorado, Montreal, Nashville, Vancouver, and Vegas.
  • Corey Perry snapped a 9-game pointless streak with his assist.
  • Ian Cole scored his first goal as a member of the Lightning. It was his first goal for anyone since January 22, 2022 when he scored against the New Jersey Devils as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Even contenders need to remember defense is the key [Tampa Bay Times]

The Lightning know their path to success is with a greater commitment to defense, and yet they find themselves in the bottom half of the NHL when it comes to preventing goals this season.

The story of the Tkachuk-Huberdeau Trade [The Athletic]

While both Treliving and Tkachuk declined to reveal the list of interested teams, The Athletic has reported that the Blues, Lightning and Hurricanes were also among the teams on Tkachuk’s list. The Panthers jumped into discussions within a day or two of the trade’s completion.

Bruins hire ex-AG to conduct review of vetting process [ESPN]

The Bruins announced on Tuesday that Lynch, of the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, will “conduct an independent review of our player-vetting process” and ensure that “our process going forward reflects our core values.”