NHL Game Summary - Florida at Tampa Bay
(Saturday, April 10th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 4, Florida 3 (SO)
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Steven Stamkos scored twice to become the third- youngest player in NHL history to notch 50 goals in a season, and appropriately buried the shootout winner in Tampa Bay's 4-3 win over Florida.
At just 20 years and two months old, the top overall pick in 2008 is behind only Wayne Gretzky (19 years, 2 months; 1979-80) and Jimmy Carson (19 years, 8 months; 1987-88).
"To do it on home ice in a win...emotions were running and he (his father) was in the stands," Stamkos said. "To share that moment with my teammates, I have to share it with Marty (St. Louis). He's been a big mentor of mine and pushed me to be the player I am today."
Stamkos tied Washington's Alex Ovechkin in the race for the Maurice Richard Trophy, awarded to the NHL's leading goal-scorer. Both sit just one goal ahead of Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, and all three are in action on the final day of the regular season Sunday.
The Lightning will complete a home-and-home set with Florida on the road, the Capitals host Boston and the Penguins travel to take on the Islanders.
Stamkos is bidding to become the youngest player to lead the NHL in goals since Rick Nash shared honors with Jarome Iginla and Ilya Kovalchuk in 2004 (41 goals).
After delighting the crowd with his two tallies in regulation, Stamkos avoided a pokecheck and flipped in a backhander to start the shootout.
Antero Niittymaki stuffed Stephen Weiss and Nathan Horton shot wide, while both of the next two Lightning shooters were also foiled.
That left Michael Frolik with a chance to extend the game, but his backhand attempt was deflected up and over the crossbar by Niittymaki to give the Bolts a night to remember in their final home game of the season.
Niittymaki came away with 29 saves and St. Louis recorded his 29th goal on the season for the Lightning, who have posted back-to-back shootout wins.
Scott Clemmensen made 34 saves and Horton registered a goal and two assists for the Panthers, who have dropped three of four.
Stamkos moved into position high in the left circle to blast a one-timer past Clemmensen on the short side for a game-opening power-play tally 4:11 in.
Weiss countered with a power-play goal, his 28th of the season, with 1:21 to go in the period for a tie game after 20 minutes.
Stamkos rifled a low wrister from just inside the right circle for his 50th at 5:28 -- his second power-play marker -- and St. Louis provided a two-goal cushion midway through the frame.
Frolik got one back for the Panthers 1:22 later and Horton scored on a breakaway while shorthanded with 11:52 to play.
"Once we stopped taking penalties and started moving our feet...I thought we played a good second and third period," said Panthers coach Peter DeBoer.
Clemmensen made 12 saves in the third to help force extra time, while Florida came on as the aggressor late and tested Niittymaki with 12 shots in the period. Niittymaki stoned Horton on a partial breakaway in overtime to keep things alive for the hosts.
Stamkos currently sits in second place on the all-time list for most goals scored in a single season in franchise history behind teammate Vincent Lecavalier (52). Both Stamkos and St. Louis added assists, as did Weiss for Florida. Stamkos now has 94 points on the season...Frolik scored his 21st goal of the year and Horton got his 20th...Tampa Bay finished 2-for-5 on the power play, while the Panthers went 1-for-6.
04/10 23:49:35 ET