VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Tampa Bay Lightning captain Stephen Stamkos scored his 500th career goal in the first period against the Vancouver Canucks and scored a hat-trick in Wednesday’s 5-2 win.
The 32-year-old center opened the scoring at 4:40 of the period by receiving a clever pass from Alex Killone and a backdoor tap to past goalkeeper Spencer Martin.
As the crowd cheered, the player leaped off the Lightning bench and attacked Stamkos in the corner.
“It’s such a humbling experience to have such a moment and be able to celebrate it with teammates who are just as excited as you are. I’m so grateful to them,” Stamkos said. “Of course, these are individual stats, but it took me so many different players to get there.”
Stamkos also clocked 14:35 in the first period and finished with an empty net goal in the third with 1:22 remaining. This is his 21st goal of the season.
He is the third active skater to score 500 goals, after Alex Ovechkin of Washington and Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh.
“It’s a game you’ll remember forever, so it was very special to do it and tell that story for years to come.
After the game, he spoke in the locker room, thanking his teammates for their help and support.
It was Tampa coach John Cooper’s proudest moment.
“I’ve watched him grow up to be a phenomenal leader. Honestly, he’s a goalscorer for generations,” Cooper said. “That’s him and they don’t come around that often. Enjoy him as much as you can. I’ve been very fortunate to enjoy him netting that pack hundreds of times.” And it’s good for him, of course.”
The 1st overall pick by the Lightning in the 2008 Draft, Stamkos played all 15 seasons of his NHL career in Tampa Bay, scoring 1,022 points (500 goals, 522 assists) in 965 games.
Stamkos is the 47th player to reach 500 goals, according to an ESPN Stats & Information survey, and the 19th player to accomplish the feat before making 1,000 appearances.
The Markham, Ontario native won back-to-back Stanley Cup titles with the club in 2020 and 2021, and was the league’s top goalscorer in 2010 and 2012 when he won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.