Steven Stamkos fight Alexis Lafreniere
(Screenshot/ Sportsnet)

Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning are winning in a variety of different ways in the 2022 NHL Playoffs.

The Lightning beat the New York Rangers in Game 5 of their Conference Final playoff series on Thursday. The Bolts have taken a 3-2 series head with the action shifting back to Tampa for Game 6.

Tampa won by a 3-1 score at Madison Square Garden on Thursday. Captain Stamkos didn’t get on the scoresheet for the visitors, but he did score a big-time takedown.

A scrum broke out at the end of the game after Nikita Kucherov fired a late shot at goalie Igor Shestrkin. Two former first overall draft picks, Steven Stamkos and Alexis Lafreniere found themselves tangled up in the corner.

Stamkos got the better of Lafreniere in a fight between two unlikely combatants. Stamkos threw a few right-handed punches and took down the young Rangers’ forward.


Stamkos was fighting for the sixth time in his career, while Lafreniere was dropping the gloves for the second time in his young career. Stamkos last fought Evgeni Malkin in 2019, while Lafreniere’s only other fight came against Jean-Gabriel Pageau in 2021.

Steven Stamkos vs Alexis Lafreniere fight speaks to the true intensity of playoff hockey. These are two former first overall draft picks who are known for their offensive ability. Stamkos was drafted first overall in 2008, while Lafreniere went first overall in 2021.

Stamkos vs Lafreniere also brings back memories of another fight between two former first round draft picks. Tampa Bay’s Vincent Lecavalier and Calgary’s Jarome Iginla dropped the gloves in a heated scrap during the 2003-04 season.

Not only did Stamkos get the better of Lafreniere in the fight Thursday, but he’s also been the better player in the series. Stamkos has three goals in the Eastern Conference Final, while Lafreniere has only managed two assists.

It isn’t very often you see two former first overall draft picks drop the gloves. Playoff hockey brings out the competitiveness of the superstars, and it’s awesome to see.

Stamkos is chasing a third straight Stanley Cup, and he’s teaching rookies like Lafreniere a lesson along the way.