This time, it’s Stamkos who catches Lecavalier

by Gary Shelton on March 15, 2019 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Stamkos tied Lecavalier's goal record./STEVEN MUNCIE

Friday, 4 a.m.

Think of it like this: The Tampa Bay Lightning keep reminding its fans that Vinny Lecavalier was a pretty good player.

At the same time, they keep pointing out that they have players who are better.

Steven Stamkos tied Lecavalier's record for 383 goals for the Lightning in Thursday night's 5-4 comeback win over Detroit. It really didn't take that long, either. Stamkos got his total in 302 fewer games than Lecavalier (who finished his Lightning career at age 32 in 2012-13).

It came one game after Nikita Kucherov passed Lecavalier's season record of 108 points (in 2006-07). Kucherov had two goals and two assists against the Red Wings to run his season total to 115, 15 ahead of his nearest competitor.

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Kucherov had another four-point night./JEFFREY S. KING

It was all enough to leave the Red Wings scratching their heads. It was the team's 15th straight loss to Tampa Bay. Since 2013-14, the Lightning is 22-4 against Detroit.

Stamkos started the assault with his 35th goal of the season.Kucherov now has 35 and Braydon Point has 38.

“To get a chance to play with (Lecavalier) and assist on some of those goals and he assisted on I’m sure a lot of mine, so that’s pretty cool," Stamkos said. "Vinny’s a world-class guy. You come into the organization the way I did and have guys like him and Marty there to really take me under their wing, you don’t dream of being an all-time goal leader for a franchise when you’re a kid, you dream of playing the game in the NHL. Pretty cool feeling. I’m sure it’ll process a little later.”

Stamkos is still just 29.

“I was fortunate to be able to coach him for a number of years now, so I’ve had the cat seat for a lot of his goals," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "First of all, two unreal guys. Vinny is an icon in our franchise. There’s a reason his number is in the rafters. It’s just been one of those years for us that Kuch passes him for total points and Stammer ties him in goals.

"First of all, it just shows you how valuable Vinny Lecavalier was to this franchise and how valuable Kuch and Stammer are. I know it’s a big moment for us to win these games most importantly, but the guys are all really excited for the two of them and their individual accomplishments.”

Stamkos, Point and Kucherov have a combined 49 point play goals this season. In all, they have 108 on the season.

“Hopefully, there's a lot more to come," Stamkos said. "That’s the thing I’m excited about is to keep rolling with this group that we have. For me, it’s just crazy to think when you have a record like that it means that you’ve been around for a long time, and sometimes it just doesn’t feel that way. It’s been almost 11 complete years. It’s crazy. A lot of reminiscing for sure, a lot of thanks to the teammates and coaches I’ve had over the years and family and friends that have supported me.

"It’s just one of those moments where you take a step back and just reflect on the positive things and some of the negative ones you had to overcome along the way and it just makes it that much sweeter.”

Said Tyler Johnson: “That’s a pretty cool accomplishment that someone’s able to do that. He’s a heck of a player. Stammer able to tie him and eventually get past that, I think Stammer’s the head of the franchise and he’s not done yet.”

Johnson scored his 25th goal of the season, the second-most he has ever scored in a season.

It was the second time this season the Bolts have come back from three goals down. Stamkos got the team on the board halfway through the second period, then the team scored four times in the third period (two by Kucherov, one by Johnson and one by Point).

“I think it’s kind of a quiet calm," Johnson said of he comeback. "I think we know we’re never out of a game. We know we can come back. We know we have the skill. We have a confidence, it’s just a matter of time. We just had to play the way that we know we can play. We got some breaks, and some guys stepped up.

“This group, we’ve been through a lot. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs and we realize what we’re capable of doing. It’s just kind of a matter of time. We’ve just got to stick to the system, stick to what works. We know what the recipe is. It’s when you start trying to get off and doing your own thing, that’s when you know that things aren’t going to go our way. We learned our lesson before, and I felt we did a tremendous job in the third period.”

Said Cooper: “Our start was not what we wanted. We come off a pretty solid win over the Leafs and had a few days off. It’s funny, back-to-backs are tough, but it’s also tough when you don’t play for a bit. It took a little bit to get our legs under us, but Detroit did what they had to do. They came in, they played hard right at the start.

"It was tough for us. The group, and it was really talked about after the second period, we felt if we played the right way, we had the puck a little bit of the night but I don’t know how much we were attacking the net the way we should have been. The power play ignited us and then the guys were starting to feel it a little bit. Fortunately for us, it went our way.”

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 23 of 27 shots. He has won 12 of his last 13, and he's now 33-8-4 on the season. He's won 77 games over the last two regular seasons (and 11 in last year's playoffs).

The Bolts return home to Amalie Arena to play Washington on Saturday night. It will be the first meeting between the teams since Washington won a seven-game series in last year's Eastern Conference finals.

The puck is schedule to drop at 7 p.m.




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