Empty-net goals don't change much for Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos in goal-scoring race
In my chat about the Tampa Bay Lightning today, there was one question I wish I could have gotten to but didn't at the time. So, did a little research about Steven Stamkos' race for the Rocket Richard Trophy and if he has been hurt or helped by empty-net goals.
First the overall stats: Stamkos' 47 goals entering Thursday were one behind Washington's Alex Ovechkin and Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby. But Ovechkin has a league-best five empty-net goals. Crosby has one and Stamkos two.
So, taking out the empty-net goals, Crosby still leads with 47 goals, Stamkos has 45 and Ovechkin drops to third with 43. On the other hand, Ovechkin has played only 70 games while Stamkos has played 79 and Crosby 78.
In other words, circumstances are part of the game.
Anyway, an interesting question. Sorry didn't answer it sooner.
Also: Mike Smith in net tonight against the Senators. ... D Victor Hedman is back after missing three games with a hip flexor injury.