Florida at Tampa Bay

Lightning's Stamkos becomes third youngest player to score 50 goals


TAMPA, Fla. -- Steven Stamkos joined an elite group of NHL goal scorers and his biggest fans was in the stands to see it.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft became the third-youngest player to score 50 goals in a season, and he scored the only goal in the shootout to lead Tampa Bay to a 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers in the Lightning's home finale Saturday.

Stamkos' father was in attendance, adding to the excitement of the night for the forward.

"He sent me a text a couple of weeks ago just telling me to stay focused," Stamkos said about his father. "My emotions were running when it went in and he was in the stands. It was pretty special. They can never take that away from you."

At 20 years, 2 months and 3 days, only Wayne Gretzky (19 years, 2 months) and Jimmy Carson had 50-goal seasons earlier than Stamkos -- the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft.

Going into Sunday's season finale against Florida, Stamkos is within reach of Vincent Lecavalier's franchise record of 52 goals.

"In between the second and third, Vinny came up to me and said, 'Welcome to the club,"' Stamkos added. "That was pretty special to be able to hear that.

"I also have to give a lot of credit to Marty St. Louis. He's been a big mentor of mine and he's pushed me to be the player I am today."

The milestone goal came on a power play in the second period. He took a pass from Andrej Meszaros at the point and blasted a wrist shot past Florida goalie Scott Clemmensen.

Stamkos was quickly mobbed by his teammates as the announced crowd of 17,050 roared in approval.

"I'm sure a lot of the guys were passing up opportunities and were trying to get the puck to me," Stamkos said. "I want to thank them for that. It was pretty special to do it on home ice in a win."

Stamkos was the first player in the shootout session and scored with a backhand flip. Lightning goalie Antero Nittymaki made that goal stand up when he stopped Stephen Weiss, Nathan Horton and Mike Frolik.

Stamkos has been one of the few bright spots for Tampa Bay team that won't be in the playoffs.

"I don't want to put pressure on him, the one thing I think is that he's emerging as a leader," coach Rick Tocchet said. "He expects this of himself. That's what I like about him, that he is willing to do the work.

The Lightning held a 3-2 lead midway through the third period when Nathan Horton took advantage of an errant pass and slipped a backhand shot past Antero Nittymaki on the ensuing breakaway.

Nittymaki recovered and stopped Horton on a second breakaway with less than five minutes remaining in regulation. He finished with 29 saves.

Clemmensen had 34 saves and stopped Alex Tanguay on a breakway with under a minute remaining in regulation to send the game to the extra period.

Stamkos' first goal came on a power play less than five minutes into the first period to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead.

Florida tied it at 1 when Stephen Weiss scored on a shot that was accidentally deflected by Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund.

St. Louis had a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay. Frolik scored for Florida and Horton had two assists.


  • The victory snapped an eight-game losing streak in home closers for the Lightning.
  • Lightning F Todd Fedoruk left the game in the second period with a lower back injury and did not return.
Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Steven Stamkos acknowledges the fans after his milestone accomplishment. (Getty Images)
Steven Stamkos acknowledges the fans after his milestone accomplishment. (Getty Images)
Florida (32-36-13)11100 (0)3
Tampa Bay  (33-36-12) «12001 (1)4
Three Stars
S. Stamkos

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 1
N. Horton

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
M. St. Louis

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1

Related Video

August 25, 2017
2017-18 preview: Florida Panthers (0:53)
February 27, 2017
Five potential NHL wild-card teams
January 7, 2018
NHL Power Rankings (1/7)
January 1, 2018
NHL Power Rankings (1/1)
Scoring Summary
04:11Power Play - Steven Stamkos (49), Slap Shot. Assist: Foster, St. Louis
18:39Power Play - Stephen Weiss (28), Wrist Shot. Assist: Horton, McCabe
05:28Power Play - Steven Stamkos (50), Wrist Shot. Assist: Meszaros, Konopka
10:24Martin St. Louis (29), Wrist Shot. Assist: Stamkos, Foster
11:46Michael Frolik (21), Backhand Shot. Assist: Horton, Kulikov
08:08Short - Nathan Horton (20), Backhand Shot. Assist: Weiss, Ballard
 Steven Stamkos (3), GOAL
Penalty Summary
02:33Frolik, 2 min, Hooking
07:38Weiss, 2 min, Holding
14:18Olesz, 2 min, Slashing
18:12Lashoff, 2 min, Hooking
19:47Lecavalier, 2 min, Tripping
04:16Allen, 2 min, Hooking
07:27Lundin, 2 min, Holding
05:57Tarnasky, 5 min, Fighting
05:57Konopka, 5 min, Fighting
06:18Garrison, 2 min, Holding
09:12Walker, 2 min, Tripping
14:53Foster, 2 min, Cross-Checking
04:55Foster, 2 min, Tripping
Shots On Goal
Tampa Bay13101235
Scott Clemmensen 64:4734331
Antero Niittymaki 64:4529330
Game Information
Attendance - 17050
Referees - Rob Martell, Francois St-Laurent
Linesmen - Derek Amell, Thor Nelson
Other Games
Pitt 0 Final
Atl 1
Edm 4 Final
LA 3
Tor 4 Final
Mon 3
Pho 2 Final
SJ 3
StL 1 Final
Nash 2
NYI 1 Final
NJ 7
Car 2 Final
Bos 4
Buf 5 Final
Ott 2
Cal 3 Final
Van 7
Dal 4 Final
Min 3