Lightning explode for 7 goals in dominating win over Penguins

October 21, 2017

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are making it look easy and the Tampa Bay Lightning are reaping the benefits.

The Tampa Bay stars both extended their season-opening points streaks to nine games and the Lightning routed the two-time Stanley Cup Pittsburgh Penguins 7-1 on Saturday night.

"Just proud of the way we played throughout the whole game," Stamkos said. "Sometimes those are tough games to play but we played the right way."

Stamkos had a goal and three assists, and Kucherov had two goals and an assist. They are the first teammates to start the season with nine-game streaks since St. Louis' Pavol Demitra and Doug Weight in 2001-02.

The duo have combined for 34 points.

Andrei Vasilevskiy, coming off a 43-save blanking of Columbus on Thursday night, lost his bid for second straight shutout bid on Jake Guentzel's goal with 1:42 to play. Vasilevskiy finished with 28 saves.

Yanni Gourde, Brayden Point, Anton Stralman and Mikhail Sergachev also scored to help the Lightning improve to 7-1-1.

Penguins star Sidney Crosby received both minor and misconduct penalties during the opening 1:36 of the game. Backup goalie Antti Niemi, 0-3 in three starts, stopped 25 shots.

"Obviously, I don't want to take a penalty on the first shift out there," Crosby said. "They score on the power play. It's not the why you want to start. That's on me."

Pittsburgh is 5-2 over its last seven games, with both losses against Tampa Bay.

With Crosby off for cross-checking, Kucherov scored at 1:36 of the first. Kucherov got his 10th goal in Tampa Bay's three-goal second.

After leaving the penalty box following Kucherov's first goal, Crosby was given a 10-minute misconduct after arguing with referee Garrett Rank.

Stamkos made it 2-0 with a man-advantage goal with 5:44 left in the first. It was his 113th power-play goal, which broke a tie with Vincent Lecavalier (112) for most in Tampa Bay history.

After Vasilevskiy had a stellar save on Carl Hagelin, Tampa Bay took a 3-0 lead on Gourde's backhand with two-tenths of second remaining in the first.

"Three-nothing, 2-1, I think that was a big part of the game," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.

Niemi made an in-close save on Gourde during a short-handed 2-on-none 5 in minutes into the game. Niemi also lost 5-4 at Tampa Bay Oct. 12.

NOTES: The Penguins acquired F Riley Sheahan and a 2018 fifth-round draft pick from Detroit for F Scott Wilson and a 2018 third-round draft pick. ... The Penguins are 0-3 in the second game of back-to-back games, all started by Niemi. "I think we put ourselves in some bad spots," Crosby said. "We've got a lot of cracks at them, so we've to find a way to do better." Pittsburgh, with an NHL-high 19 back-to-back games, beat Florida 4-3 on Friday night. ... Penguins RW Carter Rowney left early in the first after blocking a shot and didn't return.



Penguins: Host Edmonton on Tuesday night.

Lightning: At Carolina on Tuesday night.