TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Lightning scored early and often in their first home game after an overseas trip.
Nikita Kucherov had a goal and three assists, Steven Stamkos scored his 399th career goal and added two assists, and the Lightning routed the New York Rangers 9-3 on Thursday night.
“These are unique games because in this league nobody is 9-3 better than the other,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “In 82 games you are going to see one or two of these. Guys are feeling it on your side and it’s frustrating (on the other). I’ve been on their side as well.”
Tampa Bay’s nine goals tied a team record. Five scores came on the power play, which also matched a franchise mark.
Kucherov had a goal and a pair of assists as Tampa Bay scored four times in the opening seven minutes. Stamkos got his second goal in 10 games on the power play during a four-goal second that made it 8-1.
“I mean, we just didn’t want to take our foot off the gas,” Stamkos said. “Not often do you have a game where you’re up like that so quick. I thought for the most part we did a pretty good job of attacking.”
Alex Killorn scored two power-play goals and picked up an assist, and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 20 shots to tie Ben Bishop for the most wins by a Tampa Bay goalie with 131.
The Lightning, who hadn’t played since Saturday when they completed back-to back wins over Buffalo in Stockholm, Sweden, also got goals from Luke Schenn, Ondrej Palat, Pat Maroon, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Yanni Gourde. Victor Hedman had three assists and Gourde recorded two assists.
“We had a great response coming back from the tough schedule that we just came back from,” Stamkos said. “Let’s keep this thing going.”
Filip Chytil scored two goals and Chris Kreider also scored for the Rangers. Alexandar Georgiev was pulled early on after allowing four goals on nine shots, before returning to start the third period. Henrik Lundqvist replaced Georgiev and gave up four goals on 19 shots.
“It’s hard not to have that one not stick with you a little bit,” Kreider said. “Obviously, it’s pretty embarrassing.”
After Schenn opened the scoring 2:39 into the game, three minutes later Tampa Bay scored three goals in 61 seconds to go up 4-0.
With New York’s Brendan Lemieux (cross-checking) and Tony DeAngelo (slashing) sent off at 5:36, Killorn had a waist-high deflection five seconds later.
Kucherov added another man-advantage goal at 6:20 before Palat made it 4-0 just 22 seconds later.
“We just lost to a really good hockey team that was on their ‘A’ game and we were far from our ‘A’ game,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. “We were overwhelmed from the start all the way to the finish.”
Maroon, Shattenkirk and Killorn had second-period goals, while Gourde picked up a power-play goal in third.
Kreider scored at 14:33 of the first. Artemi Panarin extended his point streak to a career-high 10 games with two assists.
Chytil scored twice in the third and has six goals in eight games this season.
New York rookie RW Kaapo Kakko (flu) was scratched and D Jacob Trouba left during the second with an upper-body injury.
Schenn stopped a 32-game goal drought, dating to March. 31, 2018.
The Rangers play Saturday night at Florida Panthers.
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