NHL: Stamkos becomes third-youngest to score 50
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Steven Stamkos became the third-youngest player to score 50 goals in a season and he scored the only goal in the shootout to lead Tampa Bay to a 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers in the Lightning's home finale today.
At 20 years, 2 months and 3 days, only Wayne Gretzky (19 years, 2 months) and Jimmy Carson had 50-goal seasons earlier than Stamkos — the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft.
The milestone goal came on a power play in the second period. He took a pass from Andrej Meszaros at the point and blasted a wrist shot past Florida goalie Scott Clemmensen.
The Lightning held a 3-2 lead midway through the third period when Nathan Horton took advantage of an errant pass and slipped a backhand shot past Antero Nittymaki on the ensuing breakaway.
Nittymaki recovered and stopped Horton on a second breakaway with less than five minutes remaining in regulation. He finished with 29 saves.
Stamkos' first goal came on a power play less than five minutes into the first period to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead.
Florida tied the game at 1-1 when Stephen Weiss scored on a shot that was accidentally deflected by Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund.
Martin St. Louis had a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay. Frolik scored for Florida and Horton had two assists.
NOTES: The victory snapped an eight-game losing streak in home closers for the Lightning. ... Stamkos is only two goals behind Vincent Lecavalier's franchise record of 52. ... Lightning F Todd Fedoruk left the game in the second period with a lower back injury and did not return.