Stamkos brings the power to Lightning

by Gary Shelton on January 14, 2024

in general

Stamkos scored twice for Bolts./TIM WIRT

Sunday, 4 a.m.

He is 34 years old now, and he bears the scars of spending almost half of them in the National Hockey League. He has been an all-star, a champion, and he has reached the point of his career when the names in the history books come flying at him.

Still, Steven Stamkos has memories yet to make.

Stamkos nailed two power-play goals in Saturday night’s 5-1 victory over Anaheim. It moved him into a tie with Wayne Gretzky for 17th all-time with 204 power-play goals.

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Among those he has passed are Steve Yzerman, Jerome Iginla and Pierre Turgeon. Ahead of him are Alex Ovechkin, Mario Lemieu and Phil Esposito (among others). Ah, but of the top 25 power play scorers, on Lemieux played in fewer games.

For Stamkos, who had just one goal in his previous 10 games, it was a welcome sight. The Bolts had been zero-for-nine on the power play in their previous three games. They scored three times on the man-advantage Saturday night (Victor Hedman also scored on a power play).

Also scoring for the Bolts were Calvin de Haan and Brandon Hagel. Nikita Kucherov, the leading scorer in the NHL, had three assists.

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 19 of 20 shots for his fourth win in his last five games.

The game was a physical one, and a hit by rookie Emil Lilleberg in particular seemed to fire up the Bolts.

“It changed the game  for us,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “Honesty, I thought we were asleep in the first period. Quite frankly, I was really disappointed. He stood up and made that play. I hope the kid’s ok. It was a pretty clean hit. He brought us into the fight in a game where we were not as engaged as we should have been. That was a big part of the game.

“Hitting is still part of the game. You don’t quite see them like that. I’ve watched (the Ducks’ Radko Gudas) do that for 12 years. There is a physical aspect to this game. That seemed to ignite us a little bit.”

The Bolts go for their fourth straight win on Thursday night against Minnesota at 7 p.m. at Amalie Arena.

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