Stamkos’ 13th Career Hat Trick Paces Lightning Over Blue Jackets

by | Apr 10, 2024

Stamkos’ 13th Career Hat Trick Paces Lightning Over Blue Jackets

by | Apr 10, 2024

Tampa Bay center Steven Stamkos recorded his 13th career hat trick and became the first player in Lightning history to score multiple goals in three consecutive games in leading the Bolts to a 5-2 decision over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday evening.

Stamkos has taken his offensive output to a higher level lately as he has scored ten goals in the last six games as the Bolts are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference with four games to play.

“It’s the ebbs and flows of a season and when you get in a game like this and when you get into a groove, everyone is in,” said Stamkos. “You try to get yourselves in a position where you put the puck on net because they are going in right now.”

Lightning coach Jon Cooper has sailed this team through some rough water during the season and with Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov’s outputs, Tampa Bay potentially could manifest a playoff run with the two as the catalysts.

“Big night for him,” noted Lightning coach Jon Cooper of Stamkos’ output. “He’s been hot. I was happy to see him get out there and get going for sure.”

In addition, Kucherov has joined Stamkos with his leadership as he is closing in on 100 assists after tallying three on Tuesday to move him up to 96 this season.

“It’s still a ways to go yet and hopefully it happens for him,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “We’ll all be pulling for him. But it just goes to show you that there are so many players in this league that have that ability.”

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid joins Kucherov in the quest for 100 assists as they are set to become the first duo to hit the century mark in assists in one season. McDavid currently sits with 99 and the Oilers host Vegas this evening.

Kucherov, who posted his 25th multi-assist game of the season, recorded two assists on two of Stamkos’s goals. He also helped open scoring at 16:11 in the first when he found Brayden Point to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 advantage.

Point’s steady contributions saw him find his 44th goal of the season and he has 86 points on the year.

Tampa Bay picked its game up in the third period when Stamkos’ second marker tied the game at 2-2 at the 14:17 mark in the second period. There,   Kucherov crafted one of his patented cross-ice passes and Stamkos received the puck at the bottom of the left circle for the score.

The Lightning raised their game in the third period when Nick Cirelli and Stamkos found the net only 16 seconds apart.

“He’s a goal scorer so he is always streaking,” said Hagel of Stamkos and his hat trick. “There are not many stretches where he is not scoring. It’s just a matter of whether he will put six, seven together in no time. So obviously playing with a guy like that, if he is open, good shots go to the net.

Hagel took a shot in front of Blue Jackets goalie Jet Greaves and Nick Cirelli provided a score on a stick back for the 3-2 Bolts lead at 5:40 in the third.

Stamkos then found his second goal of the evening when he followed his assist on Cirelli’s goal with his 38th goal of the season and second of the evening.

“We were really fortunate we got some scores early in that period,” Cooper explained. “Some scorers, they put that puck in the net. So much parity and there is such a fine line between winning and losing. It’s amazing.”

Stamkos explained that the Lightning had to pick their game up to fight off a solid challenge from Columbus.

“It was one of those games where you lacked emotion this time of the year,” analyzed Stamkos. “We just went through the motions in the first and second. A better spark in the third. We needed it, we talked about it. We want to feel good about our game and attend to details and things as we get to the playoffs.”

Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 30 of 32 shots as he won his 30th game after not seeing the lineup until late November due to injury.

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