Stamkos becomes Lightning’s scoring leader in win over Leafs
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Steven Stamkos scored his 34th goal of the season and became Tampa Bay’s all-time scoring leader as the Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 8-1 on Thursday night.
Stamkos, the first overall pick in the 2008 draft, fired a one-timer from the left circle off a feed from Nikita Kucherov for the record-breaking 954th point of his career. He moved past Martin St. Louis, who had 365 goals and 588 assists with the Lightning.
A congratulatory video was shown on the scoreboard, narrated by St. Louis.
“To do it at home against the team that I grew up idolizing,” said Stamkos, who is from Markham, Ontario. “Then having, (Kucherov) and (Victor Hedman) assist on a one-time shot. Then my parents were here and my wife was here ... to do it at home. Then to have Marty come out and do that. I mean, I don’t really think of myself as an emotional guy, but that really hit me. It was just an amazing, amazing experience.’’
Stamkos, who added two assists, has 473 goals and 483 assists in 917 career games, all with Tampa Bay.
“What an accomplishment, and he’s got so much more left in the tank, but, wow,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “Anytime you’re becoming the franchise leader in an organization that’s been around for 30 years and have the guys you’re passing are Hall of Famers, it was a great moment.’’
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Kucherov collected career point No. 600 on the Stamkos goal and added his 20th goal of the season. Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat and Ross Colton each finished with three points. Colton and Killorn scored twice. Pat Maroon added his 10th of the season for the Lightning, which set a season high in goals scored and margin of victory.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 36 shots and picked up his first win in seven starts, recording his first victory since April 1 in Chicago.
Ilya Mikheyev scored a power-play goal for the Maple Leafs. Erik Kallgren stopped 28 shots for Toronto.
In a potential first-round playoff matchup, the teams combined for 114 penalty minutes, which included five misconduct penalties and a match penalty against Toronto’s Kyle Clifford.
The Maple Leafs allowed a season high in goals.
“It was clear that the game meant more to them tonight than it meant to us,” Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe said. “And it showed in how they played, how they competed.’’
Tampa Bay scored four goals in the second period to break the game open after a scoreless first period.
Killorn opened the scoring in the second as the Lightning wheeled the puck around the zone from Victor Hedman to Brandon Hagel to Erik Cernak, who sent a shot from along the right boards that Killorn deflected for his 24th of the season at 3:54
Colton scored his 20th of the season to make it 2-0, tapping in a backdoor pass from Nick Paul at 11:37. Stamkos made it 3-0 on the record-breaking goal, with an assist from Kucherov at 12:38. Kucherov finished off the second-period outburst with a power-play goal at 15:07.
“I really liked the urgency tonight,” Killorn said. “Seems like we came out and we played with a purpose right from the beginning of the game.’’
Palat scored his 17th of the season 1:12 into the third period, deflecting a Mikhail Sergachev pass while Killorn scored his second of the game and the third power-play goal for Tampa Bay, tipping a Stamkos shot past Kallgren at 4:33.
Mikhayev ended Vasilevskiy’s shutout bid with a power-play goal at 7:45, but with Clifford ejected from the game due to a match penalty for high sticking Perry, Colton scored his second of the game, tapping in a Palat pass at 8:50. Maroon scored his 10th of the season with 5:49 left.
Toronto played its third game without NHL leading goal scorer Auston Matthews, who continues to be out for undisclosed reasons, though Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe does not appear concerned it will affect his status for the start of the playoffs.
“He’s really close,” Keefe said. “He’s out on the ice, he’s getting his touches. We’re in a similar place to where we were a couple of days ago in terms of it just doesn’t make sense to put him in the lineup at this point.’’
Matthews leads the league with 58 goals and needs two more to become just the third player since 1996 to score 60 in a season, joining Alex Ovechkin (2007-08) and Steven Stamkos (2010-11)
NO ON POINT
The Lightning played without top center Brayden Point, who missed the game with what the team deemed a lower-body injury and is listed as day to day. Point missed practice on Wednesday for what the team called “body maintenance”
Point missed 14 games earlier this season with a shoulder injury. He led the league in playoff goals each of the past two postseasons.
Maple Leafs: At Florida Panthers on Saturday.
Lightning: Host Nashville Predators on Saturday.
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