Light­ning hang on to beat Pen­guins

Stamkos gets back on the score­sheet

The Buffalo News - - NHL - NEWS WIRE SER­VICES

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.

Tri­bune News Ser­vice

The Wild’s Eric Staal cel­e­brates with his team­mates af­ter scor­ing a goal in the sec­ond pe­riod against Chicago.

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