Stamkos propels the Lightning over the Rangers and into the Stanley Cup Final for the second time.
Tampa Bay Lightning beat the New York Rangers 2-1 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final on Saturday to progress to the Stanley Cup Final for the third straight season.
Ondrej Palat had 2 assists, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 20 saves.
The Rangers' Frank Vatrano scored the lone goal, while Igor Shesterkin stopped 29 saves.
What we learned from the series-deciding game:
Stamkos has had one of the most interesting individual arcs of the modern period, so it's natural that he scored both goals to bring his team to the Final for the third straight year.
Tampa Bay won its first Cup in the bubble, but Stamkos scored in the 2020 Final against the Dallas Stars.
A healthy Stamkos is one of the league's top players, and he had to be at his best to advance to a third Stanley Cup Final, especially with Brayden Point's injury clouding the Rangers series.
After earning 106 points in 81 games during the regular season, it's only fitting that Stamkos was the best player in Game 6. With five goals and two assists in this series, there are no qualifiers on his superstar status.
Stamkos's first goal won't be on his highlight reel, but it shows his unequalled goal-scoring instincts. He beat Shesterkin on a shot that even the cameraman double-took on.
But they all count, and New York's goalie deserves a pass for his series-long performance.
What's more impressive is how Stamkos won the game. Vatrano tied it on a faceoff with under six minutes left.
Stamkos scored 21 seconds later, appearing to drive the puck in off his body before colliding with Shesterkin.
If we applied the standards of basketball and football prodigies, it'd be simple to say that all Stamkos does is win.
He's been a household name to hockey observers for nearly two decades, and he's a foundational part of hockey's current dynasty.
A faster, younger Avalanche team stands in the way. Stamkos and his teammates won't flinch in the matchup.