Head coach Jon Cooper said the Tampa Bay Lightning's 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators in the 2022 NHL Stadium Series at Nissan Stadium on Saturday was more than just a regular two points.
For the Lightning, 13/2 to win the Stanley Cup for a third straight time, it was their first outdoor experience, and one that Cooper revealed was special for his team.
Having spent his entire 14 season NHL career with the Lightning, at the age of 32, captain Steven Stamkos delivered in his first outdoor game by bagging a goal and two assists.
The game was played in front of a sell-out 68,619 crowd, which was the seventh-largest attendance for an NHL game. For Nashville it was their second appearance in an outdoor game, but their first time to host.
By claiming victory, the Lightning moved to within one point of the Florida Panthers at the top of the Atlantic Division (34-11-6).
Cooper is the longest reigning coach in the NHL and holds the record for the least amount of games coached to reach 400 wins in NHL history (659).
He said of the outdoor experience: "Yes, it's one of 82, but this was a little bit bigger than that. If you're trying to sell the game in a town that's really bought into hockey, no better way to do it.
"For me to look back on this, I'll just have warm feelings. It's icing on the cake that we pulled it out."