It’s a shame the Lightning finished out of the playoffs last season because Steve Stamkos’ incredible season was an afterthought because of it.
In case you’d forgotten, Stamkos took home the Rocket Richard Trophy last season leading the league with 60 goals. It’s the second time in three years he’s taken home the league goal scoring hardware (he tied with Sidney Crosby in 2009-10). Stamkos’ 97 points marked a career-high for a single season.
After such a monster season, what does he do for an encore? You might want to lower expectations.
The last guy to score 60 or more was Alex Ovechkin in 2007-08 when he put up 65 goals at age 22. He followed that season with a 56 goal effort and 50 the season after that. Since then, the “run and gun” Caps have gone away as has Ovechkin’s staggering goal totals.
Stamkos heads into 2012-13 season as a 22 year-old leader himself. He’s the main threat on the Lightning and you could argue his supporting cast in Tampa is better than what Ovechkin had during his monster season. That said, with the game being a bit tighter now and power play chances on the decline, gunning for 60 (or more) might prove to be difficult.
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger