Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Washington Capitals beat Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2

Steven Stamkos, talking with reporters, put the Lightning up 36 seconds in with his 18th goal in his past 38 games.


Steven Stamkos, talking with reporters, put the Lightning up 36 seconds in with his 18th goal in his past 38 games.

TAMPA — Steven Stamkos could barely muster a smile Thursday night while talking about his record-setting goal.

His team lost its home finale 4-2 to the Capitals at the St. Pete Times Forum. It just didn't seem right to celebrate setting a Lightning rookie record with his 22nd goal.

Perhaps over the summer, the 19-year-old center said, with some distance from a very difficult season.

"I'll probably look back on it and think more highly of it," Stamkos said. "It's really tough now the way things have been going."

Tampa Bay (24-39-18) lost its eighth straight and 11th in 12 games and will finish last in the league in home wins and points with 12 and 35, respectively.

Whatever happens in Saturday's season finale in Atlanta, the team will finish 29th overall; a step up from 30th last season, though it dropped the Lightning's chances of securing the No. 1 pick in Tuesday's draft lottery from 48.2 to 18.8 percent.

"I think," coach Rick Tocchet said, "a lot of people are looking forward to moving past this year and turning the page."

One on which to linger is the one about Stamkos.

It seems so long ago then-coach Barry Melrose said last summer's No. 1 overall pick wasn't NHL ready and played him accordingly. It is what makes Stamkos' accomplishment so noteworthy.

His goal 36 seconds into the game not only surpassed Brad Richards' mark set in 2000-01, it gave Stamkos 18 in his past 38 games compared with four in his first 40, a reversal credited to diligent work by the coaches and Stamkos' willingness to absorb the lessons.

"I'd be lying if I said that was true," Stamkos said when asked if he believed he would score even 20. "It's a pretty big honor for me, personally. I was just happy to do it on home ice in front of the fans who have been supporting us all year. It's just nice to get that, especially considering the way things went the first part of the year."

It was a pretty goal, with Stamkos breaking for the net and getting a perfect cross-ice feed from Zenon Konopka, who passed from the right-wing boards while diving for the puck and being checked by Brian Pothier.

"I had a sense he was going to get to the puck," Stamkos said. "He's such a competitor, and I knew he was going to make a great effort. I had a chance to go for the puck, but I had a feeling and stayed in the middle of the ice. I just put it on net and was lucky enough it went in."

"The kid's going to be a heck of a player," Konopka said. "It's amazing to be part of his piece of Tampa Bay history."

There could be more to come, Tocchet said:

"Can you imagine if he starts (next season) like the last two months? I'm not going to put any pressure on him. We already did that with the billboards. He just has to be Steven Stamkos. He's a good hockey player, and he's going to continue to grow. If he keeps going like this, he should be on the score sheet most nights."

At the end of a dismal season, a reason to smile.

Capitals 1 2 1 4
Lightning 1 0 1 2
Capitals 1 2 1 4
Lightning 1 0 1 2

First Period1, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 22 (Konopka, St. Louis), :36. 2, Washington, Laich 21 (Backstrom, Green), 9:19 (pp). PenaltiesErskine, Was (cross-checking), 2:44; Fedorov, Was (hooking), 6:15; Artyukhin, TB (unsportsmanlike conduct), 8:53; Smaby, TB (holding), 8:53; Koci, TB (high-sticking), 16:01; Smaby, TB (slashing), 18:00; Ovechkin, Was (tripping), 19:18.

Second Period3, Washington, Laich 22 (Green, Nylander), 5:37. 4, Washington, Steckel 8 (Bradley, Aucoin), 6:08. PenaltiesArtyukhin, TB (tripping), 3:35; Fedorov, Was (hooking), 8:02; Morrisonn, Was (interference), 13:55.

Third Period5, Tampa Bay, Pettinger 7 (Szczechura, Mihalik), 12:53. 6, Washington, Green 31, 19:55 (en). PenaltiesNone. Shots on GoalWashington 6-12-15—33. Tampa Bay 12-7-5—24. Power-play opportunitiesWashington 1 of 5; Tampa Bay 0 of 5. GoaliesWashington, Theodore 32-16-5 (24 shots-22 saves). Tampa Bay, Ramo 4-10-7 (32-29). A18,891 (19,758).

Capitals 4

Lightning 2

Washington Capitals beat Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 04/09/09 [Last modified: Friday, April 10, 2009 12:24am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays at Orioles, with Cobb on hill, Beckham in lineup


    UPDATE, 3:46: After sitting out Thursday in recovering from extraction of a tooth, former Rays SS Tim Beckham is in the Orioles lineup tonight for his first game against his ex-mates, batting leadoff and playing short.

  2. Bucs defensive end Chris Baker (90) is seen during training camp last month at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Bucs' defensive attributes in opener included flexibility


    TAMPA — It's a blink-and-you-miss-it nuance, but in Sunday's opener against Chicago, on their very first defensive snap, the Bucs lined up in a 3-4 defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter shakes hands with cornerback Brent Grimes (24) before an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  4. Bucs-Vikings: What if O.J. Howard and Dalvin Cook had both been taken?


    So what if the Bucs had taken neither O.J. Howard nor Dalvin Cook with the 19th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft?

    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard (80) makes a reception as Chicago Bears free safety Eddie Jackson (39) tackles him Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Wish the Bucs had taken Dalvin Cook? Read this


    It will happen sometime Sunday afternoon.

    Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) carries the ball in the second quarter Monday night, Sept. 11, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.  (Jeff Wheeler/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)