CALGARY — Marty St. Louis has so much history in this city it is scary.
The Lightning wing began his career in 1998 with the Flames. He scored his greatest goal, and perhaps the most important in Tampa Bay history, in the Saddledome in Game 6 of the 2004 Stanley Cup final.
And Tuesday, in the same arena, he played his 800th NHL game.
"Eight-hundred here in Calgary. Who would have thought that?" St. Louis said. "It's special."
What is amazing is St. Louis is playing with more confidence and dynamism at age 35 than in 2004 when he was league MVP. His 34 points, on 11 goals and 23 assists, have him on track for 112, a career best that would mark six seasons out of his past seven averaging at least a point a game.
Entering Tuesday he was fourth in the league in points, first with 16 power-play assists and fourth among forwards with an average 21:41 of ice time. He also is tied with Vinny Lecavalier with a team-record 419 assists.
"The guy is a machine," coach Guy Boucher said. "Thirty-five years old, he looks like he's 23. You ask anybody on the team who's the hardest-working guy, who's the guy who trains the most? They all say Marty St. Louis. He's getting the results of the process he's been investing in for years."
St. Louis, brought to Tampa Bay in 2000 with a two-year, $540,000 free-agent contract by then-general manager Rick Dudley, who loved his skating, did not make an immediate impact. He had to ask then-coach Steve Ludzik for more playing time.
Now he is a five-time All-Star who led the league in 2003-04 with 94 points, had a career-high 102 in 2006-07 and won the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship in 2010.
"For him to do what he's doing, and at the age he's doing it, is remarkable," linemate Steven Stamkos said. "It's not like he's slowing down. He's getting better. That's the scary part."
"Eventually, people expect you to slow down," said St. Louis, who last summer signed a four-year, $22.5 million contract extension that will take him through 2015. "You can't give in to that process. You have to keep going forward."
In 2004, without St. Louis' goal that gave the Lightning a 3-2 overtime win in Game 6 against the Flames, the team's championship dream might have stopped. Instead, the series was even, and the Lightning won Game 7, and the Stanley Cup, in Tampa,
"The biggest goal I've ever scored," St. Louis said. "When I look back on my career and think about the goals I've scored, that's the one that will come to mind."
And it happened in Calgary.