91 Days of Stamkos: Day 72, the story behind the card

What’s behind the photo featured on one of Stamkos’ hockey cards?

Part of the fun of hockey cards is that they can capture great moments of action for eternity.  Whether the player featured on the card wants to remember that moment is a whole different story. In the case of Steven Stamkos’ 2015-16 Upper Deck Canvas cards, both players featured probably wouldn’t mind if it never existed.

Steven Stamkos isn’t known as a big hitter, but when you are facing elimination in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, you might change your game up a bit.

Not only was his team facing elimination, Stamkos himself was struggling to score, not only in the game but also in the entire series.  Through the first five games of the series he had picked up just one assist. So he took a little frustration out on Johnny Oduya.

For Oduya, it’s probably not his most favorite moment, getting obliterated by a forward.  For Stamkos, the hit was nice, but it also conjures up memories of what is most likely the most disappointing game in his career.

Stamkos had several opportunities throughout the game, none more glorious than a breakaway a minute into the second period.

Corey Crawford stopped the initial shot with his left pad and then Stamkos put the rebound into the side of the net. The Chicago player seen leaping for the puck - Johnny Oduya. With the game scoreless at the time, a goal by Stamkos would have changed the dynamic of the game.

As Lightning fans know, Crawford would not only deny Stamkos but also every other shooter on the Tampa squad, stopping 25 shots in the 2-0 shutout. Goals by Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane propelled the Blackhawks to the series win, the first one they clinched on home ice during their modern dynasty.

Stamkos was a wrecking ball the entire game, dishing out a team-high 8 hits during his 21 minute of ice time.  Oduya was a frequent victim, absorbing three of the hits including the one captured on the card.

Despite his physical dominance, it was lack of being able to score that Stamkos bemoaned after the game,

“I am here to produce, and that’s what I’m here for,” he told the press after the game, “Obviously I wanted to be better. It wasn’t good enough.”

No one in the Lightning locker room took the loss harder than their captain.  At the same time, no one had more to be proud about the way they played the game as Stamkos did.  Even though his offense, along with the rest of the team, was stifled he still tried to will his team to victory.  Many times that is enough, unfortunately, against the Blackhawks it wasn’t.