Thursday, April 5, 2012
60-goal season for Stamkos would be a first
By John McTigue, ESPN Stats & Info
Charles LeClaire/US Presswire
The Lightning's Steven Stamkos has two games left to reach 60 goals this season.
With 58 goals and two games to play, Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos has a chance to become the 20th player in NHL history to record 60 goals in a season.
He would be the first player to do it since Alex Ovechkin scored 65 goals in 2007-08. And, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, Stamkos would be the first player from one of the nine franchises that have entered the league since 1991 to score 60 goals in a season.
But in recent years, 60 goals has been a difficult benchmark to reach after being a regular occurrence for more than a decade.
There was at least one 60-goal scorer for 14 straight seasons from 1981 to 1994, with the streak ending in the lockout shortened 1994-95 season.
The following year, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Mario Lemieux (69 goals) and Jaromir Jagr (62) reached the milestone. Since then, Ovechkin is the only player with a 60-goal season.
Jagr, Ovechkin and Teemu Selanne are the only active players with a 60-goal season.
Now in his fourth year in the NHL, Stamkos is looking to be the 10th player to score 60 goals at least once in his first four seasons. Scoring 60 this season would put Stamkos in good company: Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky, Lemieux and Brett Hull all had at least one 60-goal season in their first four years in the league.
Gretzky, Mike Bossy and Pavel Bure are the only players with multiple 60-goal seasons in their first four years.
Although scoring 60 goals at such a young age would be impressive, if Stamkos does it, his overall point total could rank among the lowest of the 60-goal seasons.
Stamkos currently has 95 points (58 goals, 37 assists); only two players, Reggie Leach in 1975-76 and Lanny McDonald in 1982-83, had fewer than 100 points in a 60-goal season.
Stamkos was held scoreless against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. He has been held without a goal in back-to-back games seven times this season, and just three times in three straight games.
Stamkos’ remaining games are both on the road, which also doesn’t help his cause -- only 22 of his 58 goals have come on the road.
On Thursday, Stamkos faces the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has seven goals against Toronto in 15 career games. Tampa Bay’s final game is against the Winnipeg Jets. Stamkos has 19 career goals against the Jets franchise (previously the Atlanta Thrashers), his most against any opponent.