Stamkos earns share of Rocket Richard Trophy
Steven Stamkos got his 51st goal of the season, Vincent Lecavalier and Alex Tanguay also scored, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Florida Panthers 3-1 Sunday.
Stamkos chased down a loose puck and scored into an empty net with 13 seconds left to tie Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby for the league lead. Crosby scored twice in the Penguins' win over the New York Islanders.
"That's probably the fastest I've skated all year," Stamkos said. "After all the posts I've had, sometimes you get one like that. It's nice either way. I'll take it. I guess it was meant to be, to get that one in the empty net."
After Stamkos scored the Lightning bench erupted.
"The whole bench was up," Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said. "It looked like he was shot out of a cannon [on the play]. He was just flying. There's so many names on that trophy. It's pretty impressive."
Mike Smith made 30 saves for the Lightning, who finished the season with three straight wins. Rostislav Olesz scored for Florida and Scott Clemmensen stopped 28 shots.
Olesz scored at 2:06 of the first to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead. He dug the puck out of the corner, then brought it out and shot from the right circle. The puck trickled under Smith's pad for Olesz's first goal in 32 games.
The Lightning tied it on Tanguay's goal at 8:01 of the first. Brandon Bochenski took a shot from the slot. Clemmensen stopped it but Tanguay swooped in for the rebound and put it in with a wrist shot.
The Lightning took a 2-1 lead a few minutes later when Lecavalier put a wrist shot high into the net over Clemmensen at 10:20.
Stamkos had several other chances to score. Clemmensen made a pad save after it appeared Stamkos had him beat with a deke to the backhand at 14:23 of the first.
Stamkos reached 50 on Saturday against Florida.
"It's pretty surreal," Stamkos said. "To do it my second year in the league and to share it with players like Crosby is pretty special, and with a guy like Ovechkin in the mix is pretty special because he's such a dominant scorer."
At 20 years, two months and three days, Stamkos is the third-youngest player to reach 50 goals in a season. Only Wayne Gretzky (19 years, two months) and Jimmy Carson (19 years, eight months) were younger when they had a 50-goal season.
The Lightning missed the playoffs for the third straight season but finished with their highest point total (80) since recording 93 in 2006-07.
Florida hasn't made the playoffs since the 1999-00 season.