Over the summer fans had the chance to go to 20yearsofthunder.com and vote for their top 20 moments in the team’s history. These moments have been revealed, and are listed below. They will be honored in an upcoming home game. Fans can still go to the site and view all of the moments, as well as add their favorites moments to their Facebook timeline. You can enter your own video memories by answering the question ‘What does 20 years of thunder mean to you?’ Top submissions will be featured on the website and at select home games.
The Top 20 Moments In Chronological Order:
- · December 6, 1990 – The NHL awards one of two expansion franchises to Tampa Bay and founder Phil Esposito.
- · September 9, 1992 – Goaltender Manon Rheaume becomes the first female to play in one of the four major professional sports leagues.
- · October 7, 1992 – The Bolts play the first game in franchise history, a 7-3 win against the Chicago Blackhawks, at Expo Hall.
- · October 9, 1993 – Tampa Bay sets the NHL single-game attendance record when 27,227 fans pack the ThunderDome in St. Petersburg.
- · April 18, 1996 – Tampa Bay wins its first playoff game, 2-1, in overtime versus the Philadelphia Flyers.
- · October 20, 1996 – The Lightning’s new home, the Ice Palace, opens in downtown Tampa with a 5-3 win against the NY Rangers.
- · June 27, 1998 – Tampa Bay drafts Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards at the 1998 NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo, NY.
- · October 9, 1998 – Just 18 months after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, forward John Cullen makes a triumphant return to hockey.
- · July 31, 2000 – Lightning sign free agent Martin St. Louis.
- · November 15, 2002, November 23, 2002 – Dave Andreychuk scores his NHL-record 250th career PPG and his 600th career goal, respectively.
- · May 22, 2004 – The Lightning defeat the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1, in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final to play for the Stanley Cup.
- · June 5, 2004 – Martin St. Louis scores in double-overtime at the Saddledome in Calgary to send the best-of-seven series back to Tampa Bay for a decisive final game.
- · June 7, 2004 – Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final. The Bolts get two goals from Ruslan Fedotenko and defeat the Calgary Flames, 2-1, to skate away with the Stanley Cup.
- · June 9, 2004 – October 5, 2005 The Lightning parade through the streets of Tampa; Raise the Stanley Cup banner to the rafters.
- · March 30, 2007 – Vincent Lecavalier becomes the first player in Lightning history to score 50 goals when he beats Cam Ward at Carolina. He went on to win the league scoring title.
- · June 20, 2008 – The Lightning draft center Steven Stamkos from the Sarnia Sting with the first overall pick of the NHL Entry Draft.
- · March 3, 2010, February 4, 2011 – Jeff Vinik purchases the Lightning, lease-holding rights to the arena and adjacent land, forming Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment; Vinik and his team announce the team will undergo a transformation including logo and jersey systems, community programs, building renovations and more.
- · May 25, 2010 – Fresh off putting together the Canadian Olympic team that won the Gold Medal, the Lightning hire Hockey Hall-of-Famer Steve Yzerman to serve as VP and general manager.
- · April 27, 2011 – The Bolts defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins, 1-0, in Game 7 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal.
- · April 7, 2012 – Stamkos scores his 60th goal of the season, becoming the first Lightning player to do so, at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg.
There were so many wonderful moments over the past 20 years, too many to count. The fans voted, and these were the most favorited. Here’s to 20 more years of thunder!