Lightning hang on to beat Penguins
Stamkos gets back on the scoresheet
TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Lightning remain perfect at home, holding on for an impressive 5-4 win against the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday at Amalie Arena.
Tampa Bay (3-1-0) was swept in three meetings with Pittsburgh (2-2-1) last year, but the Lightning beat Penguins goalie Antti Niemi for five goals on Thursday.
Steven Stamkos scored his first in 11 months, Victor Hedman scored with 0.1 seconds left in the first period, defenseman Slater Koekkoek scored the first two goals of career, and Alex Killorn added four assists in an eventful win for the Lightning.
Pittsburgh, down 5-3 entering the third, got a goal on a rebound by defenseman Matt Hunwick (his first) with 9:59 left, but goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy held on for the win. Vasilevskiy made 36 saves, the biggest when Jake Guentzel had a breakaway to potentially tie the game with seven minutes left.
The Lightning led by two after a wild second period that saw the teams combine for five goals. Stamkos scored a powerplay goal with 16:11 left in the second for a 3-1 lead. Pittsburgh answered with 11:02 left, as Chad Ruhwedel fed a pass to Conor Sheary, who beat Vasilevskiy on a breakaway for his third goal of the season, cutting the lead to 3-2.
Less than a minute later, Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov fired a shot to the top right corner of the net for his fourth goal in as many games and a 4-2 lead with 10:11 left. Pittsburgh answered again, with Bryan Rust getting his first goal on a power play, converting the rebound of a shot from Olli Maatta.
The Lightning killed off another Pittsburgh power play, and as Koekkoek came out of the box, he set up a breakaway. Killorn fed Koekkoek for a backhand goal, his second of the night. Killorn had assists on four of the Lightning’s first five goals.
Tampa Bay led 1-0 on Koekkoek’s first career goal, then saw Pittsburgh tie it later in the first period on a power-play goal by Guentzel (his second). Guentzel redirected a wide shot from Kris Letang. The Lightning had a buzzer-beater to grab the lead back, getting a power-play goal from Hedman (his first).
Around the boards
• Chris Stewart scored two goals in the third period, and the Minnesota Wild pulled away for a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
• Rookie defenseman Ian McCoshen scored his first NHL goal as the Florida Panthers routed the previously undefeated St. Louis Blues, 5-2, at the BB&T Center.
• Rookie defenseman Samuel Girard scored his first NHL goal and assisted on the tie-breaking goal by Filip Forsberg less than three minutes later as the Nashville Predators stopped the Dallas Stars, 4-1, at Bridgestone Arena.
The Wild’s Eric Staal celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal in the second period against Chicago.