TAMPA — The exuberance that Dave Mishkin, the Lightning’s longtime radio play-by-play broadcaster, brings to every goal call is well known.
And Mishkin, who has been the voice of the Lightning since the 2002-03 season, had called every one of Steven Stamkos’ 503 regular-season and 43 postseason goals entering Saturday’s game in Calgary. The only games he missed were for the birth of his son, Eli, in 2006, two years before Stamkos joined the Lightning.
Mishkin was in Vancouver Wednesday when Stamkos joined the 500-goal club and, like so many times before, his trademark call boomed from the radio booth at Rogers Arena: “Scoooooooore, there it is — 500! Steven Stamkos has done it!”
“It’s been a joy to watch him score all these goals, and I’ve been very privileged to see him score all these goals, but I’ve been so impressed that he finds different ways to score,” Mishkin said Friday from Calgary. “Like, teams game plan for him and, as a result, if one avenue was closed, he needs to find another path. And he’s done that throughout his career. And then, of course, when he had injuries, those set up other limitations for him, and he had to navigate around those as well. But the slap shot has never gone away.”
Because Mishkin has seen all of the Lightning captain’s goals, there might not be a better person to rank Stamkos’ top five of all time, including the playoffs.
5. The jaw-dropper
Nov. 19, 2009: Lightning at Ducks
Many would point to this goal as Stamkos’ most dynamic and the best example of his determination and hand-eye coordination. Early in his second season, Stamkos was coming into his own on his way to a 51-goal season. With the Lightning down 3-1, Stamkos skated to the net and took a feed from Vinny Lecavalier from behind the goal line. As Stamkos shot the puck, he lost his balance, his legs splitting apart, and — after landing on his backside — managed to knock the puck out of midair into the net with a backhand swat.
Mishkin’s take: “I (initially) had no idea what happened. The radio booth in Anaheim is basically closer to the other net. On the call, I could see that he fell and then the red light went on. It was only in the replay (that Mishkin saw it). I think I got the goal call ... but it was way more spectacular for him than for me. But you could appreciate what happened after the fact.”
4. The record-setter
April 21, 2022: Lightning vs. Maple Leafs
Stamkos became the Lightning’s all-time leading scorer, passing mentor Marty St. Louis, with his 954th career point on a second-period power-play goal that gave the Lightning a 3-0 lead in an 8-1 rout of the Leafs late in his only 100-point season. The goal was classic Stamkos, coming on the power play, where he had scored 190 goals entering Saturday, from his one-timer spot in the left circle. The cross-ice feed came from Nikita Kucherov at the right circle. We’ve seen it many times, and it was fitting.
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Mishkin’s take: “I remember thinking it was kind of appropriate that it did come from his office on the power play. Kucherov fed him cross ice. That was the game where they blew out the Leafs. I’m not sure the goal really mattered in terms of the final score. But I think because that was a milestone goal and the way he scored, it was like so many of his other goals and points.”
3. No. 60
April 7, 2012: Lightning at Jets
Stamkos has said that this is one of his most memorable goals, as he became just the second player since 1995-96 to score 60 goals in a season with a goal at 3:29 of the third period. Toronto’s Auston Matthews became the third last season, joining Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin (2007-08). No. 60 came on a feed from St. Louis, who assisted on 101 of Stamkos’ goals, most of any player. Knowing how special the accomplishment was, the Winnipeg crowd gave Stamkos a standing ovation
Mishkin’s take: “The 60th goal is very memorable, because in Winnipeg it was almost like these teams recently now with the 500 goal. They really wanted to prevent Stamkos from getting to 60, and the crowd was on him. I mean, they applauded him when he scored it, but they were really intent on keeping him at 59. And it wasn’t until the third period that he scored it. They were two periods in, and they were one period away from holding him to 59.”
2. The clincher
June 11, 2022: Eastern Conference final, Game 6, at Rangers
Stamkos was a huge reason why the Lightning advanced to their third straight Stanley Cup Final. He had 11 postseason goals and 19 playoff points, both career highs, and scored both goals in the Lightning’s 2-1, series-clinching win over the Rangers. Stamkos scored the game winner just 21 seconds after New York’s Frank Vatrano tied the score, speeding past Jacob Trouba to create a 2-on-1, taking Kucherov’s saucer pass feed and scoring on his own rebound, setting Amalie Arena off.
Mishkin’s take: “The Lightning were dominating that game, and (Rangers goaltender Igor) Shesterkin was playing. It was 1-0, and they couldn’t extend it. Then the Rangers pop in a power-play goal and, uh-oh, it’s 1-1. The next shift, Stamkos scores, 2-1, series-clincher. Huge goal. He went to the net, I think he had a shot and then he batted in the rebound. It wasn’t a clean slap shot from the left circle, but it was an extremely impactful goal.”
1. The return
Sept. 23, 2020: Stanley Cup Final, Game 3, vs. Stars
Without question, this is the most memorable goal of Stamkos’ career, because he turned the tide of the Stanley Cup Final after not playing a game in 211 days due to nagging core muscle injuries, scoring on his second shift in his only action of the postseason. Stamkos’ goal, which gave the Lightning a 2-0 lead 6:58 into the first period, stole momentum in a tied series and gave the Lightning a huge emotional boost playing in the Edmonton bubble in the middle of the pandemic.
Mishkin’s take: “I’m not sure I really need to add much about the goal he scored against Dallas that hasn’t been dissected and talked about quite a bit. But needless to say, it was amazing. It was memorable. It was storybook and impactful. I mean, the series was 1-1 at that point. And his goal got them going in Game 3, and they ended up winning fairly comfortably. The other games in that series after that were all close. Games 4 and 5 went to overtime.”
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