TAMPA, FL. – With his assist on Victor Hedman’s second-period goal, the game-winner in Thursday night’s 2-1 win over Ottawa at Amalie Arena, Steven Stamkos reached the 900-point plateau.
He became the second player to reach 900 points with the Lightning. He joined Martin St. Louis, who piled up 953 points from 2000-01 to 2013-14.
The fact Stamkos achieved the milestone point at home made it all the more sweet.
“That was special,” he said of a standing ovation that took place as his accomplishment was highlighted on the video board. “Any time you can do anything like that at home in a win in front of your fans, friends, and family, it’s just that much more special.
While talking about 900, the 31-year-old Stamkos looked ahead a bit to 1,000.
“A hundred more would be a real nice (milestone), but you have to get to this to get to there,” he said. “But like I said, it was nice to do it at home in front of the fans. (Their reaction) was definitely appreciated by me.”
Stamkos and Hedman have been playing together since the latter entered the league in 2009-10. It was only appropriate the defenseman was in on the milestone.
“It is fitting for him to be a part of that,” said Stamkos. “We go way back and have been through a lot of milestones, a lot of ups and a lot of downs. A lot more ups recently, so it has been great to go through that together. He is obviously a tremendous friend and a tremendous teammate, so I am happy he could be a part of it.”
Stamkos’ 900th point came one week after coach Jon Cooper recorded his 400th win, which, like the former’s point total, have all come with the Lightning.
“That’s a lot of points and it just sneaks up on you,” said Cooper, who took over the team in March 2013 and has been on the Tampa Bay bench for more than 500 of his captain’s points. “Nine hundred is a big number and to be able to do that says something as to why he was the No. 1 overall pick (in 2008). But to actually go out there and do it as long as he’s been doing it, especially now with the year he has been having, good for him. He’s deserved it. He’s hung in there and he’s reaping some rewards”
The win over the Senators was the Lightning’s sixth straight at Amalie. They have won seven of eight overall to climb into first place in the Atlantic Division with 42 points.
A large reason for Tampa Bay’s string of recent success has been the play of Stamkos, who has at least one point in 11 of his last 12 games (4-12-16). He heads into his team’s three-game pre-Christmas trip, that begins in Colorado on Saturday night, with 13 goals and 34 points, both team-leading figures.
The Lightning return home to play Montreal on December 28.
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