TAMPA, Fla. (AP) 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.
After Stamkos tied Vincent Lecavalier for the Lightning team record with 112 power-play goals, Sheary and Kucherov traded goals later in the second. Rust scored on the power play to cut the deficit to 4-3 with 5:36 to go in the period.
Koekkoek got his first goal, coming in his 43rd game, 6:07 into the first. His second extended the lead to 5-3 late in the second.
Hunwick got Pittsburgh within 5-4 at 10:01 of the third.
Hedman put Tampa Bay up 2-1 on a power-play goal from just inside the blue line with one-tenth of a second left in the first period.
Guentzel tied it at 1 four seconds after a Pittsburgh power play ended midway through the first. The Penguins had three man-advantage goals in a 3-2 win Wednesday night at Washington.
Kris Letang assisted on Guentzel’s goal and joined Paul Coffey (332) as the only Pittsburgh defenseman to reach 300 assists.
NOTES: Pittsburgh will play its second and final game at Tampa Bay on Oct. 21. … Lightning C Cedric Paquette didn’t play due to an undisclosed injury.
Penguins: Return home to play Florida on Saturday night.
Lightning: Host St. Louis on Saturday night.
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