Tampa Bay Lightning: 50 Greatest Moments In Franchise History

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Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

25. Steven Stamkos Scores His First Career Hat Trick

Date: February 17, 2009

The Tampa Bay Lightning knew when they drafted now-Lightning captain Steven Stamkos in the First Round (First Overall) in the 2008 National Hockey League Entry Draft that the young Ontario native would be destined for great things. What they didn’t know is that he would start his journey to said great things in his very first season in the National Hockey League.

Steven Stamkos made his National Hockey League debut on October 4, 2008 as the Tampa Bay Lightning took on the New York Rangers. Unfortunately, the Lightning would not be able to pull out a win in Stamkos’ debut, but the young forward didn’t let this get him down.

It would take eight games before Steven Stamkos would find his way onto the score sheet for the first time in his career. On October 28, 2008 Steven Stamkos would earn an assist on the game winning goal scored by then-Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier early in the second period against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Just one game later, as the Lightning took on the Buffalo Sabres at the then-HSBC Arena (which is now known as the First Niagara Center) in Buffalo, Steven Stamkos would score not just one, but two goals and an assist in the Lightning’s 5-2 win over the Sabres.

Slowly, but surely, Stamkos was falling into his groove as one of the few really high-powered scorers on the Tampa Bay Lightning. As the Tampa Bay Lightning quickly made it past the halfway point in the season, things would really start to kick into gear for the six foot one inch tall center.

On February 17th as the Tampa Bay Lightning took on the Chicago Blackhawks at the then-St. Pete Times Forum (now known as the Amalie Arena), Steven Stamkos would reach the first of many milestones in his career. Starting with a goal just past the halfway point in the first period of play, Steven Stamkos would score his first career hat trick.

Not only did Stamkos score his first career hat trick, but it would be a natural hat trick at that. Stamkos two remaining goals would be scored on the Power Play as Blackhawks right wing Craig Adams sat in the box on a double minor for High Sticking Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier.

Stamkos would go on to score 23 goals and 23 assists for a total of 46 points in the 79 games he would play with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2008-09 season. As we mentioned before, this would be the first of many milestones achieved by the current Tampa Bay Lightning captain. It will be interesting to see what lies ahead for the young, talented forward.

Next: Nikita Kucherov Makes History In His First Shift