Thursday night against the visiting Bruins will be Steven Stamkos’ 969th game in the NHL. Given that the captain does not miss any games, he will reach 1,000 on April 5 in the Big Apple against the Rangers.

Next Milestone For Steven Stamkos: 1,000 Games

Thursday night against the visiting Bruins will be Steven Stamkos’ 969th game in the NHL. Given that the captain does not miss any games, he will reach 1,000 on April 5 in the Big Apple against the Rangers.
Photo By: Tom Layberger

TAMPA, Fla. – Thursday night against the visiting Bruins will be Steven Stamkos’ 969th game in the NHL. Given that the captain does not miss any games, he will reach 1,000 on April 5 in the Big Apple against the Rangers.

Indeed, the statistical milestones, and pregame ceremonies, have piled up for Stamkos this season with the latest being his 500th goal.

“It is becoming pretty expensive for the guys this year with all the gifts,” said No. 91, to laughter following Tuesday night’s win over the visiting Wild, before which his latest career achievement was recognized.

In the news: 500th Goal “An All-Time Moment” For Steven Stamkos

Stamkos’ first of three goals in a 5-2 win at Vancouver last week was his 500th. He joined Alex Ovechkin (811 goals through Tuesday) and Sidney Crosby (540) as the only active members of the 500-goal club. Both chimed in with congratulatory messages during a pregame video tribute.

“Obviously, a ton of respect for those guys,” said Stamkos. “Those guys are legends in our game. To be one of the three active (500-goal scorers) with those two guys is pretty surreal. I appreciate the videos from them.”

The trio of greats, having spent their entire careers with the same Eastern Conference teams, have played against each other plenty of times through the years.

“They battle on the ice against each other,” said coach Jon Cooper. “We have had playoff series against them both, but there is a mutual respect. It is so hard to do what those guys have done for so long. That’s why there are generational players and generational scorers. For them to show respect for each other was pretty cool.”

It is pretty cool what Stamkos has done this season. His 500th assist set up Nick Paul’s overtime winner against visiting Dallas on November 5. On the first day of December, Stamkos recorded his 1,000th point when he assisted on another Paul goal, which proved to be the game-winner in a 4-1 victory in Philly.

In the news: Lightning’s Steven Stamkos Becomes 95th NHL Player To Reach 1,000-Point Milestone

No. 500 for Stamkos opened the scoring during a four-goal first period for the Lightning in a 5-2 win over the Canucks. It was memorable evening capped by Stammer putting home an empty-netter for his 11th career hat trick.

Any surprise Stamkos scored the game-winner in a 4-2 victory over the Wild, a couple of hours after being honored for No. 500? It was far from a typical Stamkos goal. He corralled a loose puck to the left of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and banked a shot off Minnesota’s Ryan Hartman and into the net. No. 505, which came with less than six minutes remaining in the game was not pretty, but who cares. It won a game. (For the record, Stamkos has 82 game-winners, including playoffs.)

“For all the good (shots) that don’t go in, you are rewarded with one like that,” he said. “You really want to win these games where you have special (pregame) moments like that. They always sit better in the room after the game when the guys are feeling good after a win.”

The Lightning have been feeling good at Amalie, where they have won 10 straight. They will try to make it 11 in a row against the Bruins (38-5-4, 80 points) on Thursday night.

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