Ducks can’t keep up with Stamkos, Lightning
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Steven Stamkos had a big game right after saying goodbye to a popular teammate.
The All-Star forward scored his league-leading 41st and 42nd goals of the season and added an assist as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on Tuesday night.
The Lightning traded right wing Steve Downie to Colorado as part of a three-team trade before the game that resulted in Tampa Bay getting a first-round draft pick and minor league defenseman Sebastien Piche from Detroit. Tampa Bay obtained Kyle Quincey from the Avalanche and then dealt the defenseman to the Red Wings.
“It was a tough game for the whole team,” Stamkos said. “For me personally, he’s a great friend. A couple of us saw him before the game and it was emotional.”
Stamkos put the Lightning up 1-0 when he poked a loose puck past goalie Jonas Hiller on a power play 28 seconds into the game. The center, who has five goals and eight points during a three-game point streak, made it 2-0 with an in-close rebound goal at 17:58 of the first.
“You’ve got to find a way to win, and we found a way to do that,” Stamkos said. “So we’ve got to keep moving forward.”
Stamkos has four goals and six points in four games against Anaheim.
“I think he’s a tremendous hockey player, but I’m glad he’s in this division now and I’m not,” said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau, who faced Stamkos on a regular basis when coaching Washington.
Tampa Bay also got a goal and two assists from Teddy Purcell. The Lightning, 11th in Eastern Conference and five points behind eighth-place Toronto, have won three in a row and are 10-3-2 in the last 15 games.
“The reality for us is, just keep on pushing, keep on playing,” Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said. “Finding ways, that’s what we’ve been doing for a while.”
Saku Koivu and Bobby Ryan both had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who had picked up at least a point (6-0-3) in their previous nine games. Anaheim dropped to 4-1-2 on an eight-game road trip.
“If you looked at their lineup, they had one line that can score and the other lines were out there to defend,” Boudreau said. “And that’s what we knew was going to happen. When we finally woke up, we couldn’t get the third one by them.”
Tampa Bay was without captain Vincent Lecavalier, who will be sidelined indefinitely by a broken right hand. The team announced during the first period that Lecavalier, hurt in Saturday night’s 2-1 win over Washington, has a non-displaced fracture.
After Koivu scored 40 seconds into the second, Purcell gave Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead two minutes later off an assist from Stamkos.
“He just seems to always be in the right spot at the right time, and the puck just kind of gravitates to him,” Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said of Stamkos. “If we’re able to keep him off the scoreboard, then we would have walked out of here with a victory. But he’s a dangerous player, and unfortunately we didn’t do a good enough job of defending him.”
Ryan cut the Ducks’ deficit to 3-2 with 1:22 left in the second.
Tampa Bay’s Mathieu Garon made 28 saves, including 11 in the third.
“We let two points slip away,” Ryan said. “It’s tough. I think we threw everything we had at them late and couldn’t find a way to beat their goalie. You get behind the eight ball early and it’s tough to claw back, especially this time of year.”
Hiller had gone 13-2-4 with a 1.72 goals-against-average over his previous 20 games. He finished with 13 saves.
NOTES: Anaheim RW Corey Perry had his five-game point streak end (six goals, seven points). … Purcell has four assists and six points during a three-game point streak. … Koivu has 14 goals and 41 points in 38 games against Tampa Bay. … The Lightning recalled LW Mike Angelidis from Norfolk of the AHL. … The Ducks are 15-4-4 since Jan. 1.