On a night dedicated in his honor, Steven Stamkos did what he does best: Score. The Lightning Captain netted the game-winning goal to beat the Minnesota Wild at Amalie Arena, 4-2.
Stamkos scored the 505th goal of his career with just over five minutes to play to propel the Bolts to a much-needed victory. The game-winner was his 76th and capped a huge win in a definite playoff-feel game. In addition, Tampa Bay snapped a two-game losing streak.
Corey Perry scored twice in the second period to keep the Lightning on pace with Minnesota. The Wild continued to pressure the Bolts at the start of the third before Stamkos read a rebound off of Marc-Andre Fleury. Stamkos fluttered the puck back into the crease, finding Minnesota’s Ryan Hartman trying to protect the goal.
Instead, Hartman unwillingly redirected Stamkos’ shot into the Wild net. As soon as the puck crossed the goal, Stamkos raised his arms in celebration.
Tonight’s @NewAmsterdam Goal of the Game? The Captain, obvi. pic.twitter.com/W5DPiHuQ0v
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) January 25, 2023
“That’s what he (Stamkos) does,” Lightning Coach Jon Cooper noted. “That’s why Stammer is Stammer! It’s Stammer Style! It’s Awesome!”
Finally, Nikita Kucherov closed the door on Minnesota with an empty net goal in the final seconds.
Andrei Vasilevskiy Wins the Showdown of NHL Elite Goaltenders
Andrei Vasilevskiy earned his 250th career win in a heavily anticipated matchup against Minnesota netminder Marc-Andre Fleury. Vasilevskiy single-handedly kept the Bolts in contention for the majority of the game.
The Wild scored first early in the second period on a goal by Joel Eriksson Ek. Aggressive play from Minnesota forced the Lighting to play uphill most of the night.
Fleury looked unbeatable the first half of the game until Corey Perry broke through.
Perry scored at the mid-point of the period to knot up the score. However, Minnesota would answer quickly on a goal by Kirill Kaprizov.
As a result, Vasilevskiy would then bear down in the crease and refuse Minnesota the rest of the night.
Despite giving up two goals, the Lightning goalie stopped 33 of 35 shots.
“(Vasilevskiy) gave us a chance,” Perry noted. “And we definitely took advantage of that.”
Scorey Perry Strikes Twice
Compared to past seasons in his storied career, Corey Perry has had a quiet campaign this year. However, when needed he has stepped up to give the Lightning the boost they need to win.
In limited playing time, Perry found the back on the net on a key power play with under two minutes left in the second period. Both of his goals this evening were on tip-ins, which has been his specialty this year. In fact, four of his eight goals this season have been on the redirection.
“It’s something I’ve been working on in practice,” Perry said. “It paid off tonight.”
“It hit my stick, it went into the net, and I’ll take it!”
The Night Belongs to Steven Stamkos
The night began with a tribute to the newest member of the NHL 500-Goal Club, Lightning Captain Steven Stamkos.
The game had a short delay as the Lightning honored Stamkos’ 500th goal. The future hall of famer recorded the goal last week against the Vancouver Canucks.
Following a short video montage, Stamkos was joined by his wife, Sandra, and sons Carter and Chase on the ice.
In addition, The Lightning announced they were donating 500 meals to the Ronald McDonald House of Tampa Bay, the charity Stamkos and his wife work closely with.
Teammates Alex Killorn and Victor Hedman presented the family with gifts, including an exclusive golf excursion.
Finally, Lightning owner Jeffery Vinick presented Stamkos with a commemorative golden hockey stick. The Stamkos boys were presented with golden hockey pucks as they beamed with happiness.
Three Stars of the Game
Steven Stamkos, F, Tampa Bay Lightning. What more can be said? On the night that the Amalie Arena crowd saluted their captain, their captain saluted them by capping off another impressive performance.
Corey Perry, F, Tampa Bay Lightning. Perry has been a quiet force this season. However, tonight his impact was key in putting the Bolts in position to win. By all means, the Wild had a chance to pull away in the second period. Due to Perry being in the right place at the right time, the veteran made two clutch goals when it mattered most.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Tampa Bay Lightning: Vasilevskiy is the second fastest goalie to reach 250 career wins. His 399 games to 250 wins is only eclipsed by Montreal Legend Ken Dryden, who reached the mark in 381 games.
The league-leading Boston Bruins come into town Thursday night to try to upend the Lightning’s 10-game home win streak. Puck drop is at 7pm.
Follow our coverage of the Tampa Bay Lightning all season long at The Scrum Sports.
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