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Lightning Round: Stamkos creates a new milestone as Matthews matches his

and playoffs update

Tampa Bay Lightning v Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 12: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs takes a face-off against Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at the Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

I didn’t think it would ever happen, but with a four-point night over the Blue Jackets, captain Steven Stamkos hit 100 points in the season for the first time in his 14-year career. Now at 101 points, that’s the fourth most points by a Bolt in a season behind MSL, Lecavalier, and Kucherov in his Hart trophy year.

“It’s one of those stats that made you double check the record books. Until this season, Steven Stamkos did not have a 100-point season in his career. Seems impossible doesn’t it? Well, that is no longer the case as the Tampa Bay Lightning’s captain recorded four points (2 goals, 2 assists) in the team’s 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.” [Raw Charge]

I was discussing Stamkos with some of my friends, and he’s got to be a lock for the Hall of Fame when it comes time for it, right? Surely the face of a franchise in all categories (soon), multiple Cups, and multiple Rocket Richards counts for enough to be walked right in in the first year of eligibility.

Stamkos has an astonishing 35 points in his last 18 games, including at least three points in each of his last five games. This recent inferno streak got him to this milestone when I didn’t think it was possible a month ago.

On the same night Stamkos hit 100, one of his old records was matched by Arizonan Auston Matthews in what’s probably a Hart Trophy winning season. Matthews hit 60 goals after scoring two on Detroit last night, making him the first player in a decade to hit the milestone, and only the third in the Salary Cap era.

I mention Matthews for the Hart this year because Stamkos (wrongly) lost the award, finishing right behind Evgeni Malkin who only had 50 goals. Unfortunately, the politics of the time (winning a Cup meant you deserved personal awards as well) kept Stamkos from winning a Hart in what was probably his best chance.

In the NHL, the Leafs officially clinched second place in the Atlantic Division with their win. They just needed one point to clear the Lightning. Alon gwith the Lightning winning, Boston beat the Florida Panthers (their second loss in a row after a 13-game winning streak) and are keeping the fight for third place alive. Tampa just needs a win over the Blue Jackets on Thursday or Islanders on Friday to shut that down. Or the Bruins can drop those two points in either of their last two games (Islanders Thursday and Leafs Friday).

Carolina also clinched first in the Metro Division, meaning they can only face the Bruins or the Lightning in the first round (the first WC). The Rangers will probably play the Penguins or Capitals instead (the second WC). Good luck with that, jerks! None of the first round series in the East are decided yet, but most of them are almost there. Pittsburgh and Washington are battling it out for third in their division, as are Tampa and Boston. Those are where the fights are as the end of the week (and season) looms.

The IIHF have officially removed Russia from hosting the Men’s U20 World Juniors with a replacement to be announced later this year.