Video: Steven Stamkos' baseball-swing goal vs. the Senators
In case, you missed it, Lightning star Steven Stamkos scored with a baseball swing goal Monday against the Senators. The goal tied the game 3-3 and sent it into overtime. Tampa Bay eventually lost 4-3 in a shootout, but the play was the No. 2 play of the day on ESPN's SportsCenter and reminded everyone that Stamkos was a pretty good ballplayer back in Unionville, Ontario, playing shortstop and pitcher until he was about 14.
Stamkos was at the side of the net when teammate Ondrej Palat took a shot that deflected off the crossbar and into the air. Stamkos -- with 21 goals, including seven in 10 games since his return from a broken right tibia -- waited until the puck was beneath the crossbar, choked up and whacked it in.
"Right off the blade, choked up a little bit," Stamkos said. "Maybe those are the baseball instincts. When you choke up it gives you a better chance to make contact."
For Lightning coach Jon Cooper, though, there wa something even better: "What I liked was the way he was sniffing around the net. We get a shot and he wasn't sitting, waiting in his one-timer spot (in the left faceoff circle). He was engaged. He had a good feel for where the puck would be and he was hanging around the doorstep. That's not a good play, that's an elite play."
"Just an instinctual play," Stamkos said. "I didn't think too much. I saw the puck up in the air, the first thought was let it come down as low as I possibly could so it was a legal goal. Sometimes you get lucky and get a good piece of it, sometimes you don't. But I was happy to see it connect."