TAMPA, FL. – Lightning history can be made Thursday night at Amalie Arena as Steven Stamkos needs one point to stand alone atop the team’s all-time scoring list.
The captain entered Tuesday night’s game against visiting Detroit needing three points to equal Martin St. Louis’ record of 953. The way things were going, it looked like Stamkos might eclipse the mark by the end of the evening.
He picked up his third point, all assists, at the 43-second mark of the third period on a beautiful feed to Ross Colton, who scored his second goal of the night. That would be it, though, as the 4-3 loss concluded with Stamkos matching his former teammate.
“He meant a lot and still means a lot to me with what I have become as a person and as a player,” said Stamkos, following the game. “Just the role model that he has been to me, and to have your name right up there with the great Marty St. Louis is pretty humbling. It is pretty surreal when I think back to the amazing times we had together on the ice.”
Starting with Stamkos’ rookie season of 2008-09, the two spent five-plus seasons together before St. Louis was dealt to the Rangers at the 2014 trade deadline.
The effort against the Red Wings was Stamkos’ eighth game of three-plus points this season. He has recorded at least one point in 12 of the last 14 games and has piled up 21 points (6-15) during that stretch. He takes a three-game points streak (1-6-7) into Thursday’s game (8 p.m. ESPN) against the Maple Leafs.
Stamkos’ 54 assists are the second-highest total of his career behind the 59 he had in 2017-18.
Beating themselves: The Lightning had a number of miscues Tuesday night, many of which led to prime scoring chances for Detroit, which was playing without its leading scorer, Dylan Larkin.
The careless play is not been confined to Tuesday evening, but has been a trend for much of the past four-plus weeks. Against the Red Wings, the Lightning tilted the ice during what was an outstanding first period that saw them outshoot the visitors 15-5. Many of those shots were of a high-quality variety that forced Detroit goalie Thomas Greiss to come up big and keep the game scoreless after 20 minutes.
It was during the middle period, and after taking a 1-0 lead, that the Lightning lost all sense of responsibility. The result was Detroit scoring three times in 3:57 to take a 3-1 lead. While the Bolts would tie it in the third, bad habits continued to lead to numerous Red Wings chances. If not for Andrei Vasilevskiy, the game likely would have been out of reach.
“It was one of those games that we clearly beat ourselves and that is probably becoming a little bit too much of our story,” said coach Jon Cooper. “I thought after the first period that we had full control, and we were not satisfied in sticking with it. There were (odd-man breaks), breakaways, turnovers, and it’s perplexing why some of the players that have been with us for a while, especially in (the 76th game of the season), are continuing to do this.”
Hedman milestone: Victor Hedman’s assist on Nikita Kucherov’s second-period goal Tuesday was his 73rd point this season. That broke his own mark for most points in a season by a Tampa Bay defenseman. He had 72 points in 2016-17. Hedman needs two assists to equal his career-best of 56, also in ’16-17.
Hot hand: Ross Colton has eight goals in his last 12 games. His two-goal game against Detroit was his second such outing this month (April 1 vs. Chicago) and his third two-goal game this season. The first was at San Jose on January 22. Colton enters play Thursday night with 19 goals on the season.
Savior: Andrei Vasilevskiy’s save on Pius Suter’s slapshot with 4:32 remaining in the first period Tuesday night was the 10,000th of his career. His first save was on the Flyers’ Michael Raffl, which came 1:18 into his debut on December 16, 2014, at Philadelphia. Vasy has a .916 save percentage this season and .919 for his career.
Three more home games: The Lightning’s remaining regular-season games at Amalie are Thursday against the Maple Leafs (8 p.m. ESPN), Saturday versus Nashville (7:10 p.m.), and Tuesday against Columbus (7:10).