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Lightning's Steven Stamkos passes rare NHL milestone: 500 career goals

Tampa Bay Lightning Team Captain Steven Stamkos on the ice in his uniform, with a hockey stick in his left hand.
Jeff Roberson
Selected first overall by the Lightning in the 2008 draft, Stamkos has played all 15 seasons of his NHL career for Tampa Bay and amassed 1,024 points (502 goals, 522 assists) over 965 regular-season appearances.

Tampa Bay's captain is only the 47th player to score 500 goals in the NHL’s 105 seasons. He’s also the third active skater to reach that mark, joining Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.

Steven Stamkos has long been considered hockey elite. His list of accomplishments includes a 60-goal season, two Rocket Richard Trophies as the NHL’s top goal scorer and two Stanley Cup championships.

The latest milestone – his 500th career goal – came Wednesday night in the Lightning’s 5-2 win at Vancouver. And it places the Lightning captain in rare company.

He’s only the 47th player to score 500 in the NHL’s 105 seasons. Others include: former Lightning forward Dave Andreychuk, Gordie Howe, Jaromir Jagr, Brett Hull and his father, Bobby Hull, Mark Messier, Dino Ciccarelli, Guy Lafleur, and Maurice Richard.

He’s also the third active skater to do so, following Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby.

“That’s a game that you’re gonna remember for forever, so to do that and have that story to tell for years to come was pretty special,” Stamkos said.

Making the night more special: It was part of a hat trick for Stamkos, who added his third goal of the game into an empty net with 1:22 left.

But the celebration for No. 500 came 4:40 into the first period as the 32-year-old took a pass from Alex Killorn and put a backdoor tap in past Canucks goalie Spencer Martin.

Teammates poured out of the Lightning bench and mobbed Stamkos in the corner. The Vancouver crowd respectively cheered and gave him a standing ovation. And Stamkos was all smiles.

“It’s such a humbling experience when you have a moment like that and you get to celebrate it with your teammates, who are genuinely just as excited as you are. I’m so thankful for them,” Stamkos said. “Obviously, this is an individual statistic, but it takes so many different players along the way that have helped me get to that.”

After the game, he spoke in the locker room and thanked his teammates for their help and support.

That was the moment that made Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper the most proud.

“I’ve just watched that kid grow into a man, a phenomenal leader, and to be honest, he’s a generational goal scorer,” Cooper said. “That’s what he is and those guys don’t come around that often. Enjoy him while you can and I’ve been extremely fortunate to enjoy him put that puck in the net hundreds of times. And it’s good for him, well deserved.”

Interestingly, the Ontario native was the sixth player to reach the 500 mark against Vancouver. The others were Wayne Gretzky, Joe Sakic, Patrick Marleau, Stan Mikita and Frank Mahovlich.

Selected first overall by the Lightning in the 2008 draft, Stamkos has played all 15 seasons of his NHL career for Tampa Bay and amassed 1,024 points (502 goals, 522 assists) over 965 regular-season appearances.

Only five players reached the 500 standard quicker than Stamkos: Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Lightning founder Phil Esposito, Marcel Dionne and former Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman.

Goal No. 1 was registered Oct. 30, 2008, at Buffalo. The assists came from Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, a Hall of Famer. Both have retired jerseys hanging from the rafters at Amalie Arena.

Stamkos’ jersey is expected to join them one day.

“He’s first class, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, for sure. He scores goals,” said Canucks defenseman Luke Schenn, who played two seasons with Stamkos in Tampa Bay.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

I’m the online producer for Health News Florida, a collaboration of public radio stations and NPR that delivers news about health care issues.
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