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Five interesting games from Lightning history

Interesting probably for reasons you didn’t even think of.

Kyle Freadrich #24

It’s getting close to the end of the regular season for the Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s getting close to time for things to get serious. But I’m not really ready to get serious yet about the team, the season, the playoffs. So instead, I’m spending this afternoon looking at StatHead.com. StatHead is a companion site to Hockey-Reference.com that I use all the time in researching articles. It’s great for finding a lot of different stats and records and interesting tidbits that aren’t as easily found using the NHL.com site.

So, let’s use StatHead to find some performances by Lightning players that stick out for one reason or another. Might be a great performance, might be a not so great performance. I don’t really have any set criteria. I’m just doing some sorting and scanning through the lists of game logs to find anything that sticks out as worth looking at a bit more.

March 3, 2000 - Kyle Freadrich’s One Second Game

Obviously one of the first things I had to do was sort by TOI ascending. Now, it’s possible there’s someone else that has a one second game in franchise history, but the NHL didn’t start recording TOI until the 1998-99 season.

First a little background on Freadrich. According to Hockey-Reference, he was 6’7” and 260 pounds. Essentially, he was a defensive end on skates. He was originally drafted by Vancouver in the 3rd round of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. The Canucks didn’t sign him, but the Lightning did in the summer before the 1999-00 season. He played in 23 games for the Lightning in 1999-00 and 2000-01, recording one assist, 75 PIMs, and 3:00 TOI. I think you can see where this is going.

A mere 3:27 seconds into the first period, Freadrich fought Chicago’s Ryan VandenBussche. Freadrich was sent out for a face-off, fought VandenBussche and then didn’t return to the game. I found a video of the fight and both players were hammering each other so it’s possible he suffered an injury. [Per the notes in the following day’s Tampa Tribune, Freadrich did receive 3 stitches above his right eye, lost two teeth, and had his right hand x-rayed—JG] There was another two fights in the second period, including a goalie fight between Dan Cloutier and Steve Passmore.

January 5th, 2000 - The Get Back Out There Game

Dan Boyle holds the franchise record for highest TOI in a regular season game for the Lightning, but I didn’t think there was anything particularly interesting about that. So instead I wanted to look at the most shifts taken in a game, and this game jumped out, not for one player, but for a bunch of players.

Bryan Muir holds the franchise record for most shifts taken in a game at 64. He only played 22:53 in what ended up being a 3-3 tied game against the Vancouver Canucks. His average shift was about 21 and a half seconds. But coach told him to keep getting back out there apparently. He wasn’t the only one either. Mike Sillinger logged 61 shifts in 22:23, Andrei Zyuzin had 60 shifts in 21:36, Pavel Kubina had 59 shifts in 22:55, and the list keeps going. Seven players had more than 50 shifts, including Dan Kesa who took 50 shifts with just 13:02 in TOI. That’s 15.64 seconds per shift. Oh and look, Kyle Freadrich is down there at the bottom of the list with just six shifts for 1:45 along with Stan Drulia’s, who had suffered a concussion in the first period, 6 shifts for 1:46.

Seriously, what was going on in this game? It wasn’t a back-to-back. The Lightning’s previous game was on January 1st in Sunrise and then they had plenty of time to travel out to Vancouver for this game. If you have any idea or if you somehow remember this game, let me know in the comments!

The most shifts taken in a game that wasn’t this one was 43 by Paul Ranger in 2009 and Dave Andreychuk in 2004.

December 27th, 1999 - The Three Major/Three Game Misconduct Game

I’m not sure if three majors in a game is a record for the Lightning franchise, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising if this was true. The game was played at home in the Ice Palace against the Florida Panthers. The Lightning lost it 6-1 and it was 5-0 when the last incident happened and resulted in an ejection.

Darcy Tucker. Good ole Darcy Tucker. The game started off with Tucker picking up a Fighting Major 39 seconds into the game for his first Major. He picked up a double Roughing minor at the beginning of the third period against Lance Pitlick, father of current NHLer Rem Pitlick and uncle of Tyler Pitlick.

But then at the 11:49 mark of the third period, he left the game. Tucker was assessed a major for spearing, a major for fighting Todd Simpson, and then three Game Misconduct penalties. You read that right. With each of the Game Misconducts being worth 10 PIMs. he finished the game with 49 PIMs, a Lightning franchise record.

[Random note from the game. The winning goaltender for the Panthers was Richard Shulmistra who stopped 20-of-21 for his only win in the NHL - JG]

March 1st, 1996 - The First Perfect Hat Trick and The Double Hat Trick Game

What’s a Perfect Hat Trick you ask? Maybe there is a name for this and maybe I’m just making it up, but I went looking for a Hat Trick where the player only had three shots on goal for a 100% shooting percentage. The Lightning have had six such games, with Steven Stamkos accounting for three of them. But this one is about the first.

In a game in San Jose against the Sharks, Jason Wiemer picked up three goals on three shots on goal, two at even strength and one of the power play, in a 7-3 win for the Lightning. His first came in the first period on the powerplay assisted by Brian Bellows and Brian Bradley. The second and third came in the middle of the second period with the first assisted by Chris Gratton and the second unassisted.

To make this game even MORE interesting? Brian Bellows also recorded a hat trick. Bellows scored the first two goals of the game within the first six minutes of the first period. he then added another one in the third period after Wiemer completed his hat trick. This game is the only double hat trick game in franchise history.

March 6th, 2004 - The Quick Gordie Howe Hat Trick

There’s a number of Gordie Howe Hat Tricks that I could find in Lightning history that are interesting. For those that don’t know, a Gordie Howe Hat Trick consists of a goal, an assist, and a fight. This one stood out to me though because it’s a player that is well known for his fighting and not well known for his scoring and he accomplished the feat with just 6:15 TOI.

That player? Chris Dingman. In his 385 game NHL career, Dingman scored 15 goals, 19 assists, and 34 points with 769 PIMs, and two Stanley Cup rings. Incidentally, this Gordie Howe Hat Trick came before he won his second ring, was his first goal of the season (all the way in March), and the last regular season goal he would score in the NHL, though his last NHL goal came in the 2004 playoffs.

At 2:32 of the 2nd period, Dingman picked up the secondary assist on a goal from Dan Boyle. He picked up his goal at 14:50 of the second period, assisted by Brad Richards and Andre Roy, to get one step closer to the Gordie Howe Hat Trick. He finished it off in the third period by fighting Mathieu Biron at 6:09 of the period.