Martin St. Louis’ Best Game

By Connor McMinn

The history of the Tampa Bay Lightning is filled with fan favorites, superstars, and iconic achievements. In this series, the Bay Bolts crew is going to individually take a look at their favorite alumnus, breaking down their greatest career game. Last time we took a look at the great Nikolai Khabibulin’s best game Next up is none other than Martin St. Louis.

Martin St. Louis is one of if not the best player in Lightning franchise history, after all, he was the first player to get his jersey number retired back in the 2016-17 season. St. Louis started his career in Calgary where he played only two seasons, scoring a combined twenty points. On July 31st, 2000, St. Louis signed a free-agent deal with the Lightning. At the time it looked like just another pickup, but what the Bolts didn’t know was that he would become a franchise superstar for the next two decades.

Days after Marty got the news that he was snubbed for the second time by Team Canada, St. Louis would have what we think is the best game of his career. On Saturday, June 18th, 2014, St. Louis would score three goals in the first period against the San Jose Sharks, all in a seven-minute, thirty-four-second time span. He would then go on to score his fourth a little over two minutes into the second. 

His first goal came on the Power Play as the Lighting were down 1-0 with about eight minutes left to go in the first period. The Bolts were moving the puck like crazy. Stamkos controlled the puck at the top left circle before feeding it down low, behind the left side of the net to Tyler Johnson, who then sauced a pass to the right circle, right to St. Louis. Marty then held the puck, looked straight at the goaltender (Niemi), and fired it right over the glove to tie the game up on the power play. But less than a minute later, Patrick Marleau of the Sharks would score his twenty-first of the season, and help the Sharks take a 2-1 lead.

St. Louis’ second goal came a few minutes later with about four and a half minutes left to go in the first. Brett Burns of the Sharks had the puck entering the offensive zone and took a wrist shot from the blue line of which was stopped by Lightning goalie, Ben Bishop. Bishop then poked the puck out to a nearby defenseman in Jean-Philippe Cote. Cote then dumped the puck to the left side of the neutral zone. Off of a line change, St. Louis springs off the bench and takes the puck from the dump by Cote. St. Louis takes the puck and has absolutely nobody in front of him as he was then in all alone on a breakaway. He goes forehand the whole way and the initial shot was stopped by Niemi, but then Marty did the unthinkable. St. Louis was facing the complete opposite direction of the net, and as the puck lay in the crease in front of Niemi, he used his backhand to get it in past the goaltender on the left side of the net, to tie the game up at two. Although it was reviewed to see if he kicked it in, they found that it was indeed a good goal.

To complete the hat trick, Marty got a lucky bounce with thirty seconds left to take the lead late in the first. St. Louis took the puck into the offensive zone but then soon got the puck knocked off his stick and it fell to Justin Braun of the Sharks, who tried to clear the puck. Mark Barberio was at the blue line to hold it in and fed a pass down low to St. Louis who miss handled it and the puck then fell to J.T. Brown. Brown fed the puck to the front of the net from the goal line, it hit St. Louis, fluttered in the air, and ended up in the back of the net. After that goal, St. Louis had completed the hat trick, but he wasn’t quite done yet.

The Bolts got an early Power Play to start the second period. Teddy Purcell had the puck on the left side of the left faceoff circle. He held it for a couple of seconds and then sauced a pass to the other side of the ice for a one-timer by St. Louis that ended up over Niemi’s glove, and into the back of the net. Marty had his fourth of the game, and they were only twenty-two minutes into the game. That Power Play goal then put the Bolts up by two, leading the Sharks 4-2.

 His four goals tied a Lighting franchise record, which was also set by Chris Kontos in the Lightning’s first-ever game in their franchise’s history. Somehow, St. Louis’ four-goal game wasn’t enough to push the Bolts over the edge as they would go on to lose the game, 5-4. The funny thing about this game is that another player had a hat trick, and that player was Joe Pavelski, who at the time was with the Sharks. He scored three goals in the third period in six minutes and twelve seconds, beating Marty’s three-goal first period by a minute and twenty-two seconds. 

This isn’t the first time St. Louis has scored three goals in one period, in which he did three times in a Lightning uniform, the fourth one just put this game over the top. St. Louis accomplished this feat in the 2003-2004 season against the Carolina Hurricanes, St. Louis’ hat trick against the Sharks is the second-fastest hat trick in Tampa Bay franchise history. His first-period hat trick in 2006 against the Hurricanes was 1:17 faster.

A couple of months after St. Louis’ four-goal game, he would be traded to the New York Rangers and would finish his career there, leading them to a Stanley Cup Final appearance in which they lost in five games against the LA Kings. In his final season, he would lead them as far as the Eastern Conference Final, where they would lose in seven games to Marty’s old team, The Tampa Bay Lightning.

Martin St. Louis would play in 972 games with the Bolts and serve as the captain during the 2013-14 season. He is the franchise’s all-time leader in points with 953, assists with 588, game-winning goals with 64, and short-handed goals with 28. He ranks second for games played and goals with 365, as well as third for power-play goals with 96.

I hope you enjoyed learning about this game and let me know if you think there was a different game that you would have picked for St. Louis. Be sure to let us know what player you want us to talk about next by tweeting us @Bay_Bolts 

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