There have been some amazing goals scored in NHL history, and a select few have come from players on the Tampa Bay Lightning. Whether it was a record-setting goal, a career milestone or just an amazing play, there’s no shortage of great goals by Bolts players. But, some are more important than others, and here is a list of the top 10 most important goals in Lightning franchise history.
10. Stamkos Snipes from the Goal Line
In just the Lightning’s third game of the 2016-17 season, Steven Stamkos showed why he is one of the NHL’s premier goalscorers. Stamkos’ favorite spot is just inside the faceoff circle, but since he was down low forechecking beforehand, he knew he didn’t have time to get to his office, so he improvised. Hedman gave him a perfect feed and Stamkos put it over James Reimer’s shoulder.
The Lightning went on to win the game in a shootout, but this goal showed the talent and skill level that Stamkos has. Not many players have the confidence to shoot from there, not to mention the skill to put it exactly where they want it, and it shows that he’s one of the most confident shooters in the league and in Lightning history.
9. Bolts Dish the Biscuit
The Lightning were the best team in the regular season last year, and this clip shows exactly why. When Ondrej Palat lost the puck, Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Stamkos came in to help. Point eventually picked up the puck, dished it to Palat who was at the front of the net and looked like he had an easy goal. Not so fast.
Palat passed it off to Stamkos who was in between all four Capitals defenders, and when he drew two of them, he made a no-look, backhand pass to Kucherov who had a wide-open net. If there was a goal to define the Bolts regular season, this would be it.
8. Kucherov Fakes Holtby (Twice)
The first time Kucherov deked out Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby was in the All-Star Game, so it didn’t matter as much. It gave Kucherov a hat trick and displayed his world-class skill, but could he do it when it really mattered?
Against the Capitals on Feb. 20, 2018, Kucherov took a breakout pass and was in all alone on the Caps netminder, and instead of getting fancy, he didn’t touch the puck for the last 15 feet — he just waved his stick over it. Holtby followed the stick instead of the puck and it slid through the five-hole. Holtby was visibly frustrated after as if he knew it was going to happen, but as you’ll see later on, we’ve seen moves like that from the Lightning forward in the past.
7. Stamkos Makes Lightning History
Stamkos is known for his one-time slapshot from the left faceoff dot, but he became the Lightning’s all-time goal scorer in a different fashion. On March 18 last season, Stamkos tipped a point shot from Ryan McDonagh past Arizona Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper for goal No. 384, passing Vincent Lecavalier for the most goals in Lightning franchise history.
Stammer has become synonymous with the Lightning name and franchise, and the captain will someday have his number retired. But, for now, we can watch him rewrite the Lightning goal-scoring record books as he continues to be one of the top goalscorers on the team and in the entire league.
6. Baseball on Ice
We’ve seen Stamkos’ name on this list twice already, but this was the goal that showed why the Lightning drafted him No. 1 overall in 2008. The Lightning were in Anaheim and the puck was down below the goal line. Lecavalier passed out to Stamkos who got an initial shot away, but the rebound bounced off of goaltender Jonas Hiller and into the air. As Stamkos was falling, he batted it out of the air and passed Hiller’s glove.
Pure goalscorers find a way to score, and that’s exactly what Stamkos did here. He never gave up on the play and proved why he is the face of the franchise. With the goal, he put both himself on the map but also showed why the Lightning would have a bright future as they have in the recent past.
5. The No-Move Move
In a shootout against the Buffalo Sabres, Kucherov had a chance to win the game for the Lightning. As he wound up, he went wide to the right and went in on Robin Lehner. Once he was right inside the faceoff dot, he faked a wrist shot by simply waving his stick over the puck. As he did this, Lehner opened the five-hole because he followed the stick instead of the puck, and the puck slid into the net.
This was one of my personal favorites for two reasons. First, Kucherov was so smooth in executing the move that it looked like he could do this every time he’s in a shootout. Second, in my opinion, this was the move that put Kucherov’s pure skill on the map. Many people knew how good he was, but this took it to a whole other level as one of the elite forwards in the game today.
4. Johnson Stuns Habs
In Game 3 of the 2015 Eastern Conference Semi-Final, the Lightning already had a 2-0 series lead over the Montreal Canadiens. In a hard-fought game that looked like it was going into overtime, the Lightning made one last-ditch effort to win before the final horn. From their own zone with seven seconds left, Palat took a pass and entered the Canadiens zone. He found a streaking Hedman who was going to the net, and Johnson went to the other side. Hedman passed to Johnson who beat Carey Price through the five-hole with 1.1 seconds remaining.
This was a key series for the Lightning as it helped them move on to the Eastern Conference Final once they defeated the Canadiens, and it would have been a whole different series without their Game 3 victory. The Lightning closed out the Canadiens in six games and went on to win their second Eastern Conference championship in franchise history, and while it could have happened if Johnson hadn’t scored that goal, it made it so much sweeter coming in the final second of the game.
3. Fedotenko Seals the Cup
Ruslan Fedotenko was never an amazing goalscorer, but he was always steady, usually posting around 15 goals and 35 to 40 points a season. However, in 22 games played in the playoffs with the Lightning, his biggest moment came on the brightest stage. After scoring the first goal of the game on the power play in the first period, Fedotenko found himself wide open in the high slot and took a pass from Vincent Lecavalier. He ripped a shot over the glove of Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff and into the back of the net.
The goal ended up being both the game-winning and Stanley Cup-winning goal since the Flames scored midway through the third period. After St. Louis scored the overtime winning goal against the Flames in Calgary, the Flames were thinking, “don’t let Marty beat us.” The Lightning also had other bit-name players — Richards, Fredrik Modin, Lecavalier and Andreychuk — but Fedotenko rose to the occasion and helped the Lightning win their first and only (currently) Stanley Cup championship.
2. 60-goal Stammer
This was one of my favorite moments as a Lightning fan for a couple of reasons. First, Stamkos became the 20th player in NHL history to score 60 goals in a season, an amazing accomplishment by itself. However, what made it even more special was how the fans reacted to the goal. According to Bleacher Report, chants of “No Goal Stamkos” were raining down throughout the game, but when he finally scored the goal, everyone in the arena gave him a standing ovation to recognize how special the moment was.
Brian Lee started the play with a nice backhand pass to St. Louis down low. He found Stamkos in between all four Jets defenders in the slot, put it on his tape and Stamkos ripped it into the back of the net. Sixty goals is an amazing feat, but what this meant to the Lightning and their fans is that the future was bright for the franchise. Now, Stamkos is the Lightning captain, the all-time leading goalscorer in Lightning history and one of the best players in the NHL.
1. Marty Crushes Canada
Without this goal, the Lightning might not have gone on to win the 2004 Stanley Cup. Game 6 went to double overtime, and while the Flames had a chance to close out the series, the Lightning would not go quietly. The Flames made a neutral zone turnover on their first shift of double overtime, and the Lightning were hard on the puck. As the puck went up the boards toward the neutral zone, Tim Taylor flipped the puck on net where Kiprusoff gave up a rebound, and St. Louis was there to put it in on the short side.
While the goal didn’t win the Stanley Cup for the Lightning, it continued the series and gave them another chance to win it on home ice. In Game 7, Fedotenko scored two goals and the Lightning went on to win their first championship, but if St. Louis hadn’t scored the goal in Game 6, who knows if the Lightning would have won the Cup that year?