A Little Stamkos is Better Than No Stamkos

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We have no clear indication whether or not we’ll see Steven Stamkos again in this Stanley Cup final, but the small glimpse he gave us will undoubtedly go down in the trophy’s considerable and long lore. It wasn’t exactly Bobby Baun scoring in overtime on a broken leg, but it was one of those wonderful moments when a superstar lives up to his billing and leaves an indelible mark on the game’s history.

Most importantly, Stamkos’ goal at 6:58 of the first period of Game 3 was meaningful. Had Stamkos taken a couple of twirls on the fourth line and not made a tangible contribution, it would have been a nice little story and some validation for a guy who has sequestered himself in the bubble with his Tampa Bay Lightning teammates for the entirety of the playoffs. But Stamkos, future Hall of Famer, former Rocket Richard winner and one of the most dynamic scorers of his generation, was a difference maker. His goal put the Lighting up 2-0 in a game they would go on to win 5-2, a win that puts them two wins away from the Stanley Cup in a series that is definitely tilting in their direction.