Every time a Lightning player scores three goals in a game, Chris Kontos' phone lights up.
The Google Alerts, emails and text and Twitter messages all ask the same thing: Is Kontos' team record of four goals about to fall?
"It just keeps coming up," Kontos said. "It's funny."
Actually, Kontos said, it's amazing he still has the record, set Oct. 7, 1992, in Tampa Bay's inaugural game, a 7-3 victory at Expo Hall over the Blackhawks and Hall of Fame goaltender Ed Belfour. The Lightning has played 1,527 games since then, and 42 hat tricks have been recorded. But the team's longest-running individual record still stands.
"You'd think it would have been broken by now, especially with a 50-goal scorer on the team," Kontos said, referring to star center Steven Stamkos. "You'd think he'd have five five-goal games or 10 of them."
Kontos, 49, lives about 100 miles north of Toronto, in Penetanguishene, Ontario, with wife Joanne, daughter Joelle, 15, and son Kristoff, 19, who plays for Mississauga of the junior Ontario Hockey League. He has a promotional and marketing company and developed a rechargeable hand-held skate sharpener used by several NHL teams, including the Lightning.
Kontos, who will be at tonight's game as a guest of the Lightning, has few keepsakes from his record-setting game.
He has a magazine picture in which he holds the four pucks with which he scored. But the pucks are long gone, he said, used by Kristoff and friends in numerous games on the family's backyard rink.
Kontos' four-goal game sparked a torrid start in which he had 18 goals in his first 18 games.
"I was right up there with (Hall of Famer) Mario Lemieux (the eventual scoring champion), keeping pace," he said.
Kontos cooled after that and finished with a career-best 27 goals on a team that was 23-54-7 and last in the Norris Division.
"With our team, it was pretty hard to keep putting up those kinds of numbers," he said.
For one game, at least, it was Kontos who was hard to stop.