Steven Stamkos

Best of NHL: Stamkos scores for 1st time in 11 months in Lightning win

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Best of NHL: Stamkos scores for 1st time in 11 months in Lightning win

TAMPA, Fla. -- Steven Stamkos scored his first goal since having right knee surgery last November and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 on Thursday night.

Stamkos made it 3-1 with a power-play goal at 3:49 of the second period from the low left circle. The Lightning star previously scored Nov. 15th at Detroit, the same game that he had a season-ending lateral meniscus tear in the knee.

Stamkos entered with five assists in three games this season.

Slater Koekkoek got his first two NHL goals, and Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov also scored for the Lightning. Alex Killorn had four assists, while Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves.

Pittsburgh got goals from Jake Guentzel, Conor Sheary, Bryan Rust and Matt Hunwick. Antti Niemi, who allowed four goals on 13 shots over 9:16 against Chicago on Oct. 5 in his Penguins debut, stopped 29 shots (see full recap).

Luongo rises on wins list as Panthers top Blues
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Roberto Luongo moved into a tie for fourth on the NHL career victory list with 474, making 37 saves to help the Florida Panthers beat the St. Louis Blues 5-2 on Thursday night.

The 38-year-old Luongo is tied with Curtis Joseph on the career list.

Vincent Trocheck scored the go-ahead goal, Ian McCoshen had his first NHL goal, and Jared McCann, Aaron Ekblad and Nick Bjugstad also connected for Florida.

Paul Stastny and Vince Dunn -- also with his first career goal -- countered for St. Louis. Jake Allen stopped 33 shots in the Blues' first loss in five games this season.

Trocheck put the Panthers ahead 2-1 with a short-handed goal at 2:45 of the second period. Trocheck skated in on a breakaway and shot over Allen's glove. It was the first time the Blues trailed since the first period in their opener at Pittsburgh (see full recap).

Girard scores 1st goal as Predators top Stars
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Samuel Girard scored his first NHL goal and added an assist to lead the Nashville Predators to a 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.

Filip Forsberg and P.K. Subban also had a goal and an assist, and Viktor Arvidsson also scored for the Predators, winners of two straight. Pekka Rinne made 30 saves.

Jamie Benn had Dallas' lone goal. The Stars have lost three of four to open the season.

Benn scored the game's first goal at 8:04 of the opening period. With Dallas on a power play, Rinne stopped John Klingberg's shot from the left point, but Benn was able to swat in the rebound from just outside the crease on the right side.

Nashville has surrendered the first goal in three of its four games.

Girard evened the game at 1 at 3:27 of the second. From above the left faceoff circle, Subban slid a pass to the 19-year-old rookie at the right point, where he beat goaltender Ben Bishop with a one-timer high to the stick side.

The 19-year-old Girard was playing his second NHL game. The Quebec native was a second-round pick in 2016.

Bishop made 27 saves (see full recap).

Huge break for Flyers to face Lightning twice without Steven Stamkos

Huge break for Flyers to face Lightning twice without Steven Stamkos

The Flyers are catching a huge break in the NHL schedule over the next five days.
They'll face the Tampa Bay Lightning twice in a home-and-home series without Steven Stamkos in the Bolts' lineup.
Stamkos had right knee surgery (torn lateral meniscus) surgery this week and will miss four months, including Saturday’s matinee at the Wells Fargo Center.
It’s the latest in a series of awful injuries to the Bolts' captain going back three years: a broken leg, and blood clots last season that limited him to just one playoff appearance against Pittsburgh in a wild series.
Stamkos (nine goals, 20 points) and Nikita Kucherov (nine goals, 22 points) are among the most dangerous duos in the NHL.
“You don’t replace a player like that,” Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto said. “He is one of the most elite players in the league.

"We still look at their club and they have a lot of speed and skill, guys who can fill that void in different situations. No one is obviously going to be able to fill that void on the power play with that slap shot he has.

"It’s a very similar team to Winnipeg with its top two lines. They have a lot of speed. They can make plays on the go.”
Vladislav Namestnikov will replace Stamkos at center between Ondrej Palat and Kuckerov. Sean Couturier’s line will likely go head to head against them Saturday.
“They still have a pretty good lineup even if Stamkos isn’t there,” Couturier said. “He’s a key player. But they still have (Tyler) Johnson, (Alex) Killorn, Palat and Kucherov. They have a lot of talent there. Kind of similar to last night [against Winnipeg].
“If we take care of details, it will make a difference. We can’t take them lightly even if they are missing Stamkos. Two years ago, they made a run without him. They’re a really good team even without him. We have to be ready.”
The Bolts made it to the Stanley Cup Final two seasons ago and the Eastern Conference Finals last spring largely missing Stamkos.
What the Flyers have to do against Tampa is copy their blueprint from Thursday’s game against the Jets: strong start followed by an even stronger shutdown finish in the third period.
“You just have to be cognizant, play that way through all 60 minutes," Wayne Simmonds said. "You start with your first shift and I think definitely when you’re going into the third with a lead, you can’t let up at all.
“We’ve got to pressure. Falling behind is kind of where we’ve laid back in the third period, we kind of let teams give it to us. I think that’s where we get in trouble, so we've got to keep following this groove that we had in the third period [against Winnipeg].”

Best of NHL: Wild's Dubnyk blanks Bruins for league-leading 4th shutout

Best of NHL: Wild's Dubnyk blanks Bruins for league-leading 4th shutout

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Mikael Granlund scored with 44.5 seconds left, Devan Dubnyk stopped 24 shots for his league-leading fourth shutout, and the Minnesota Wild beat the Boston Bruins 1-0 Thursday night.

Granlund took a pass from Jonas Brodin circled below the end line and came out to the right of Tuukka Rask. His centering pass went off the skate of Adam McQuoid and trickled into the Boston net.

Dubnyk has had to carry the Wild lately as Minnesota's offense has mustered just 10 goals in its past seven games, winning three. He has allowed nine goals in his last nine games, stopping 274 of 283 shots in that span to account for a .965 save percentage.

Minnesota has allowed an NHL-low 29 total goals in 16 games this season, including 10 in its last nine games, dating back to the 5-0 shutout Oct. 25 in Boston.

Lightning ease past Sabres in first game without Stamkos
BUFFALO, N.Y.  -- Alex Killorn had a goal and assist and the Tampa Bay Lightning's offense showed no ill-effect from missing captain Steven Stamkos in cruising to a 4-1 over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

Nikita Kucherov, Nikita Nesterov and Brayden Point also scored, and Valtteri Filppula set up two goals with no-look passes in helping the Lightning win their third straight and improve to 6-2-1 in their past nine. The spread-out offensive contributions came in Tampa Bay's first game since Stamkos tore a ligament in his right knee during a 4-3 win at Detroit on Tuesday.

During the game at Buffalo, the Lightning announced Stamkos had surgery and is expected to miss four months.

Cody Franson scored for Buffalo, which dropped to 0-4-2 in its past six. It's a stretch in which the team's offense has dried up in managing just six goals (see full recap).

Schwartz scores twice in Blues' win over Sharks
ST. LOUIS -- Jaden Schwartz scored twice and David Perron added the game-winner to give the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night in a rematch of last spring's Western Conference final.

Jake Allen had 29 saves -- holding off the Sharks' 6-on-4 advantage over the final 55 seconds -- as the Blues won their second straight.

Kevin Labanc got his first NHL goal and Logan Couture also scored for the Sharks, who lost their second straight after winning the first three on a season-high six-game trip.

Perron broke a 2-2 tie with a power-play tally late in the second period. San Jose had killed off its previous 26 penalties over an 11-game stretch (see full recap).