Stamkos scores 500th in hat-trick, Lightning defeats Canucks
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Steven Stamkos scored his 500th NHL goal, then added two more for a hat trick, leading the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks Wednesday evening.
Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov each had a goal and an assist in Tampa Bay’s fifth straight win. Alex Killorn had two assists and Brian Elliott stopped 37 shots.
Andrei Kuzmenko and Quinn Hughes each scored a power play goal in the third period for Vancouver (18-23-3).
Canucks goaltender Spencer Martin allowed four goals on 10 shots before being called off just after the halfway point of the first period. He was replaced by Collin Delia, who made 14 saves.
The Lightning (29-13-1) also beat the Canucks 5-4 in Tampa last week.
Vancouver hasn’t won in regulation since a 4-2 win over Colorado on Jan. 5. The Canucks are 2-8-0 in their last 10 games.
Stamkos sent his third goal of the night – and 21st of the season – into the empty net with 1:22 to go.
Hughes cut the Lightning’s lead to 4-2 after Stamkos was called for tripping midway through the third period.
The defender made his way to the front of the net and forced a backhand shot up and over Elliott for his fourth goal of the season at 9:10.
Tampa Bay took control with four goals in the first period.
Stamkos, who turns 33 on Feb. 7, scored his goal at 4:40. Killorn cut a pass through the low slot to Stamkos, and the Lightning captain tapped it.
The Tampa Bay bench emptied, players harassing Stamkos in the corner to celebrate to the cheers of the crowd.
Kucherov scored his 18th goal of the season on a blistering one-timer from a face-off circle at 8:28. Point’s backhand shot at 13:18 made it 3-0. It was Point’s 26th team lead of the season.
Stamkos scored his second goal of the night at 2:35, wrapping a wrist shot around Martin’s tight pad.
Vancouver paid tribute to former Canuck Wayne “Gino” Odjick, who died Sunday at age 52. Players wore jerseys with Odjick’s name and the number 29 on the back for warm-ups. Cheers of “Gino! Gino! Gino!” echoed around the rink repeatedly, and Odjick’s career highlights were shown on the big screen throughout the game.
Stamkos extended his point streak to six games. He has four goals and six assists in the streak.
Lightning: At Edmonton on Thursday night.
Canucks: hosts Colorado Friday night.
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