TAMPA, Fla. — Don’t adjust your eyes, folks. That was real, live, in-the-flesh Steven Stamkos in a fight.
The Tampa Bay Lightning captain leveled Boston Bruins center Brad Marchand with 10:05 gone in the first period Sunday at Amalie Arena, and these (rare) fireworks were something to behold. Stamkos’ stern message was in response to Marchand delivering a low hit to center Valtteri Filppula earlier in the period, and well, this Hulk impression was well-received: Winger J.T. Brown and defenseman Anton Stralman scored goals within the next 57 seconds to give the Lightning a 3-1 lead.
"I just asked him if we wanted to fight," Stamkos said after Tampa Bay’s 5-3 victory. "He didn’t answer at first. Then he said, ‘Yeah.’ He had that hit on Fil, and he was giving it to Johnny (center Tyler Johnson) a little bit. I just felt at that moment it was the right thing to do. It was nice to see us respond that way."
Before Sunday, Stamkos’ NHL career featured one other fight, against New York Rangers winger Nikolai Zherdev on Nov. 26, 2008, per HockeyFights.com. Fight No. 2 proved to be a smashing success.
"He wants to win," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "And he understands that there are other parts to the game besides scoring goals."