Tampa Bay Lightning star Marty St. Louis played in his 900th career NHL game Saturday night, and it was one everyone will remember. St. Louis scored a hat trick against the Panthers, leading the Lightning to a 6-3 win. The win secured the season series for the Lightning, who earned 9 of the possible 12 points against the Panthers this season. On a bigger scale, the Lightning took 2 points away from the Panthers, and now has 51 points. It seems as though making the playoffs will depend on winning the division this year. The Capitals are in second place in the southeast, but are 2 points out of the number 8 seed. If the Lightning has any hope of making the playoffs this year, they will need to catch the current division leader Florida Panthers, who are 8 points ahead of the Lightning.
Marty’s hat trick was also accompanied by goals from Nate Thompson, Vinny Lecavalier, and Steven Stamkos. Stamkos has increased his league-leading total to 34 goals, but that may not have been the goal most people remember from Saturday night. With less than 30 seconds to go in the game, Stamkos skated the puck into the offensive zone. With the net empty, Stammer flipped the puck to his right to find Marty, who fired home the puck for the hat trick. Stamkos passed up the chance to inflate his goal total to 35 to allow Marty to score a hat trick in his 900th career game. It comes as an ironic (and tear-jerking for some like me) action from Stamkos. As Stamkos was working in establishing himself during the first years of his career, it was Marty that was always setting him up. It was Marty that pushed Stamkos harder, in order to help make him the star that he is now. Just last year, Marty accompanied Stamkos in the All-Star game. The relationship between St. Louis and Stamkos has developed into something much more than just teammates on the same line. You can see a brother ship between the two. Saturday night, after years of St. Louis putting Stamkos on the spotlight, Stammer turned the light back on Marty. For me, that shows a deep care among teammates. The emotions flowing through fans when Marty scored his hat trick goal were likely a combination of relief and joy, as it secured an already safe win while also being an awesome coincidental accomplishment for St. Louis. The emotions after digesting what Stammer did for Marty to end the game may induce tears; not of sadness, but of joy.