Tampa Bay Lightning: 50 Greatest Moments In Franchise History

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Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

19. Steven Stamkos Wins His First “Rocket” Richard Trophy

Date: April 11, 2010

The Tampa Bay Lightning drafted a young man by the name of Steven Stamkos in the First Round (First Overall) selection in the 2008 National Hockey League Entry Draft. The very next season Stamkos would start making his mark on the Lightning and the National Hockey League.

In his inaugural season, Stamkos would play in 79 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In that amount of time, the rookie center would bring home 23 goals and 23 assists for a total of 46 points. While these are not the show stopping numbers we have become accustomed to from Stamkos, they are definitely good numbers for a 19 year old looking to make an impact in the NHL.

The next season, things would really kick into high gear for the young Steven Stamkos. It took a couple of games for things to kick into gear, but once they did it was almost like a one-way ticket to stardom.

As the season began to come to a close, Steven Stamkos found himself in the chase for the top spot in the National Hockey League in goal scoring. Unfortunately, Stamkos had plenty of competition for the honor. Just a few steps ahead of Steven Stamkos was Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.

Finally, the moment of truth was finally upon them. The final game of the National Hockey League season was imminent. The Penguins captain would score two goals in the Penguins’ final game of the season against the New York Islanders. This means Crosby would be just one goal ahead of Stamkos.

Meanwhile, back here in the Sunshine State, the Tampa Bay Lightning were facing off with their in-state rivals, the Florida Panthers. Heading into the third period, the Lightning led the Panthers 2-1. The final seconds were ticking off the clock. Tampa Bay Lightning fans were on the edge of their seats riddled with anticipation.

Then…it happened. Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier would win the faceoff in the Lightning’s defensive zone. The puck is sent flying towards the Panthers empty net. All of a sudden, Stamkos would find himself in a race with Panthers defenseman Dmitri Kulikov towards the net.

In a desperate attempt to keep his team in the game and prevent Stamkos from hitting the empty net, Panthers center Stephen Weiss would sacrifice his body, and even send his stick flying across the ice in an attempt to stop Stamkos’ charge, but it was all for not. Steven Stamkos utilized his tremendous speed to bring one home for the Tampa Bay Lightning and put the final nail in the coffin for the Florida Panthers.

Oh…and tie Sidney Crosby for the most goals in the National Hockey League.

On June 23, 2010, after the post season had come to a close, the National Hockey League held the NHL Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada. Steven Stamkos would defy the stereotypical “sophomore slump” and be awarded the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy alongside Sidney Crosby.

This was definitely the first of many stepping stones in what is sure to be a star-studded career for one Steven Stamkos. At just 25 years old, at the current time, Steven Stamkos has plenty of years ahead of him in the NHL. It will certainly be interesting to see what amazing feats the young center has in store for us in the future.

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