Steven Stamkos is not moving on from the Tampa Bay Lightning before the trade deadline. There, I said it. You can too, because you know deep in your heart of hearts -- looking at you Toronto -- that it's true.
Why? Because it makes absolutely no sense.
Why would Stamkos leave a team six points out of first place in the Atlantic Division? On a team that's won seven of their last 10 and has the eighth-best odds to win the Stanley Cup coming out of the All-Star break no less. He wouldn't, that's why.
Sure, it's fun to fantasize about it. Stamkos triumphantly coming home to the Maple Leafs after all his accidentally on purpose Twitter trolls that have caused heart attacks all across the greater Toronto area. Narratively, it's a lot of fun. Hell, even I've insinuated it after the Maple Leafs cleared the deck earlier this week with the Dion Phaneuf trade.
But it's not happening, not right now at least.
There's no reason Stamkos would sacrifice a potential run at the Stanley Cup unless his relationship with the Tampa Bay front office and head coach Jon Cooper was that sour. The Lightning were two wins away from winning it all last season and have a legitimate chance to win it this year. They'll have to slog through the likes of the Washington Capitals to get there, but there's no reason Stamkos would give up on one final chance with a contender just to get out of town.
You know who aren't contenders right now? The Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres, who Stamkos was also linked to just recently as yesterday.
If Stamkos does want a fresh start somewhere else, then let the rest of this year be one last hurrah. And Tampa Bay could do it, too, considering their roster this year looks almost identical to the one they iced when they were two wins away from a championship.
Until the Lightning are no longer contending for a Stanley Cup this season, Stamkos isn't going anywhere. Sorry Toronto.
Buffalo Sabres 6, Montreal Canadiens 4
Los Angeles Kings 5, New York Rangers 4 (OT)
Pittsburgh Penguins 2, Carolina Hurricanes 1 (OT)
Colorado Avalanche 3, Detroit Red Wings 2 (SO)
Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Nashville Predators 3 (OT)
St. Louis Blues 5, Florida Panthers 3
Arizona Coyotes 4, Calgary Flames 1
3 things we learned
1. The Rangers finally scored a power play goal, but it didn't matter anyway
Over New York's last 18 games, the Rangers had scored a paltry two goals in 50 tries on the man advantage. Somehow, they've gone 7-2-1 in their last 10 with just two power play goals to their name, but that's a conversation for a different time. Friday, the Rangers finally scored a power play goal in an extremely key time. Kevin Hayes, who scored for the first time in 33 days just two days prior, was the recipient of a gorgeous feed from Mats Zuccarello late in the third period against the Kings that helped put the Rangers up 4-3.
Sadly, it was all for naught as Los Angeles came roaring back for a late goal and the overtime winner to snatch the victory right out of the Rangers hands.
2. After a glimmer of hope, Montreal remains as bad as ever
Sorry to give you hope, Canadiens fans, but your team still sucks. Giving up six goals to the second-worst team in the NHL doesn't exactly inspire confidence, especially when they often look like this.
You know what else doesn't exactly instill confidence? Losing Carey Price for the rest of the season, which it seems Montreal is preparing for.
3. Shots, shots, shots ... everybody?
These got better as the night went along, but for the Sabres and Avalanche especially, things were a bit strange out there for awhile.
Watch this Filip Forsberg goal until it's burned into your eyeballs. Nashville ended up losing the game to the Lightning in overtime, but they were so close to having the perfect ending off of this spectacular goal.
Stat of the Night
Roberto Luongo (@FlaPanthers) is playing in his 907th career game and passed Glenn Hall (906) for 6th on all-time list among goaltenders.— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 13, 2016
Post to Post
- Remember when Bobby Ryan scored a goal and a family promised they'd get a dog? Well, they did and he's quite adorable.
- Left Shark was taking in a hockey game last night and is clearly the reason why he wasn't at the Super Bowl this year.
- If it wasn't for Forsberg's goal, Nikita Kucherov would have had the goal of the evening by a mile on this one-handed breakaway tally ... with a defender all over him.