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Lightning defensemen make record books thanks to July hockey

Victor Hedman and Jan Rutta earned unusual distinctions due to the change in the schedule.
Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta (44) celebrates his goal with teammates Ondrej Palat (18) and Victor Hedman (77) during the first period.
Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta (44) celebrates his goal with teammates Ondrej Palat (18) and Victor Hedman (77) during the first period. [ CHRISTINNE MUSCHI | Special to the Times ]
Published Jul. 3

TAMPA — Twenty years from now, people will look back on the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons and scratch their heads as they read through the NHL record books.

Then they’ll remember the COVID-19 pandemic that forced a pair of wonky seasons outside of the typical confines of October to June.

And because there’s hockey in July, more records were created Friday night in the Lightning’s Game 3 win over the Canadiens in the Stanley Cup final.

Defenseman Jan Rutta opened the floodgates in the first period of Tampa Bay’s 6-3 win in Montreal. He was the first player in league history to score a goal in the month of July.

NHL Scoring History by Month
Month Date Player Team
January Jan. 2, 1918 Eddie Gerard SEN
February Feb. 2, 1918 Bert Corbeau MON
March March 2, 1918 Harry Cameron TAN
April April 1, 1920 Bobby Rowe SMT
May May 1, 1965 Jean Beliveau MTL
June June 1, 1992 Jaromir Jagr PIT
July July 2, 2021 Jan Rutta TBL
August Aug. 1, 2020 Jaccob Slavin CAR
September Sept. 29, 2007 Michael Cammalleri LAK
October Oct. 31, 1942 Tony Demers MTL
November Nov. 29, 1924 King Clancy SEN
December Dec. 19, 2917 Dave Ritchie MWN

But the night of firsts didn’t end there, as fellow blueliner Victor Hedman quickly followed with the second goal of the game in the first period. With the score, Hedman became the first player in NHL history to score a goal in all 12 months.

Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) checks Montreal Canadiens center Phillip Danault (24) into the boards during the first period.
Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) checks Montreal Canadiens center Phillip Danault (24) into the boards during the first period. [ CHRISTINNE MUSCHI | Special to the Times ]

Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov later joined the exclusive club with goals of their own. Johnson had two (one in the second period and another in the third), and Kucherov scored in the second period.

Montreal’s Corey Perry, who scored late in the third period, also now has scored a goal in every month.

Up next:

Who: Lightning at Canadiens, Game 3

When: Monday at 8 p.m.

Where: Montreal, Quebec, at the Bell Centre

Watch: NBC

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.

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