Tampa Bay Lightning: 10 Best Performances In Franchise History

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Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

6. Steven Stamkos Scores 60th Goal

Steven Stamkos scores 60th goal of season in final game of 2011-12 regular season

Saturday April 7, 2012

In one of the most impressive statistical seasons from an individual player, Tampa Bay Lightning forward took the league by storm in his fourth NHL season when he scored 60 goals and 97 points during the 2011-12 regular season. Though the team did not exactly perform its best throughout the year and missed the playoffs, the final game of the season in Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada, still had some meaning for the team and one of its best players.

Through 81 regular season games, Steven Stamkos had scored 59 goals. This total led both the team and the entire NHL as the fourth year pro established himself as one of the deadliest goal scorers in the league. Though the Lightning were out of the playoff race at the time, Stamkos had one last chance to crack the 60 goal mark in the team’s final regular season game of the season.

As the game progressed, the Lightning went into the second intermission with a 2-1 lead over the then division rival Jets. Though the ultimate goal for the team is to win the game, they knew that history could be made on a night that would have no affect on whether or not they would play in the postseason. If any of us were in the locker room, you could probably hear the chatter in the room from the players and coaches trying to find a way to get Steven Stamkos that elusive 60th goal.

Just under four minutes into the final frame, defenseman

Brian Lee

began to lead the rush into the offensive zone. Once he made it to the top of the circle, Lee made a great pass to an awaiting Martin St. Louis behind the net. From there, Marty made a quick snap pass to an awaiting Steven Stamkos, who in typical Steven Stamkos fashion ripped a shot past the outstretched glove of the Winnipeg netminder and into the back of the net. From there,

Teddy Purcell

would grab the puck and the celebration would ensue.

Once Stamkos scored the goal, you could tell just how much it meant to both him and his teammates. Knowing Steven Stamkos as the player and leader he is, there is no way that he would ever put himself or his individual statistics in front of the team’s success. However, on this night, you could tell that Stamkos and his teammates felt that even though they would not make it to the postseason, they were all apart of a historic moment in NHL history.

Probably the coolest part of that night in during the celebration, the Winnipeg faithful got on their feet and began to cheer for Stamkos on his accomplishment. It was a great moment, as just like the team knew they were apart of history, the fans knew that they had just witnessed something that has only happened 20 times in NHL history.

It was a great moment for both Stamkos and the rest of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and I’m sure that puck is somewhere either in Stamkos’ trophy case at home or at his parents house somewhere. That one moment on the final game of the 2011-12 regular season stands as one of the greatest statistical season in Tampa Bay Lightning history.

Next: Lightning Sweep The Montreal Canadiens