TAMPA — With every milestone Steven Stamokos attains in his NHL career, it sinks in a little bit more just how much he’s accomplished.
And how much more still is within reach.
Such was the case Thursday night, as Stamkos watched his own tribute stream on the video board after recording his 900th career point, an assist on Victor Hedman’s winning goal in the second period.
After the video played, fans — and even the Ottawa Senators bench — saluted Stamkos on the achievement.
“That was special,” Stamkos said. “Any time you can do a thing like that at home, in a win, in front of your fans, friends and family, it’s just that much more special. One-hundred more and it’ll be a really nice one, but you have to get this to get there.”
Stamkos’ 900 points (in 869 games) are second-most in Lightning history, behind Martin St. Louis’ 953.
The Lightning captain, 31, joked that he hadn’t texted St. Louis about the milestone or coming for his record, but he predicted his former teammate would reach out.
“Maybe when I break it, I’ll text him,” Stamkos said.
Stamkos said it was fitting that he assisted on a Hedman goal, given how intertwined their careers have been since Hedman joined the Lightning in 2009, one year after Stamkos.
“We go way back here and we’ve been through a lot of milestones, a lot of ups and downs — a lot more ups recently — so it’s been great to go through that together,” Stamkos said. “He’s obviously been a tremendous friend and a tremendous teammate, so I’m happy he could be part of it.”
Hedman said the moment was meaningful for him, as well.
“I’ve been part of a lot of those (900) points, but to be involved directly like that is special for me, obviously,” Hedman said. “All the credit to him for 900 points already. It’s crazy.”
Jon Cooper has been rinkside for more than 500 of Stamkos’ points since debuting as Lightning coach on March 29, 2013.
“It just sneaks up on you,” Cooper said. “Nine-hundred is a big number, and to be able to do that, it says something about why he was the No. 1 overall pick (in 2008). But to actually go out there and do it as long as he’s been doing, especially now in the year he’s having — good for him.
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“He’s deserved it. He’s hung in there, and he’s reaping some rewards, so good for him.”
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