It was an emotional past couple days for hockey fans in Tampa Bay but at least it came with a smile on their face.
Steven Stamkos took the spotlight with his three goals scored in the Lightning’s last two home games including two game-winning goals. He scored the game-winning goal after what was a 2-2 game against the Winnipeg Jets and he did it again late last night against the Washington Capitals.
After a goal with a little over three minutes left in the game by Capitals forward Jason Chimera Tampa lost the lead for the first time all game. Then two minutes later Steven Stamkos sent a wrist-shot past Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth to put the Lightning back on top. Stamkos then scored his second goal of the game into an empty-netter with two seconds remaining in which the refs called to let the clock run out while some Caps players left for the locker room.
Stamkos two tallies put him up to 58 goals on the season and two away from being only the second player to score 60 goals in one season since Mario Lemieux (69) and Jaromir Jagr (62) did it in the 1995-96 season. Stamkos would be second to rival opponent Alex Ovechkin who scored 65 goals in the 2007-08 season.
The Lightning also enjoyed playing spoiler for the Capitals as they are fighting against the Buffalo Sabres for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. With two games remaining for the Caps and the Sabres having three games left and only behind by two points the Lightning’s win put Washington in a tough spot.
Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson had one of his best games of the season. Saving 31 out of 33 shots against him Roloson had an impressive .939 save percentage including a strong few last minute saves that could have changed the games-outcome.
The 42-year old goaltender for the Lightning didn’t have the best year with the Bolts in what could be his last year as a member of the Lightning organization. He had his second career lowest save percentage (.885) and the worst goals against average (3.71) of his 16 years playing in the NHL.
Roloson did not receive the most help from his defense this season though as the Lightning made a couple trades and line changes that could be said to have hurt them in the blue line area.
Even though Stamkos and Roloson will not be making the playoffs this season their love for their team and their fans couldn’t have been shown more in their efforts in their last games at home resulting in big wins.
It will definitely be a season for the hometown fans to remember.