Stamkos has 4 points as Lightning beat Avalanche


TAMPA, Fla. – NHL leader Tampa Bay Lightning defeated one of the top teams in the Western Conference very convincingly.

Steven Stamkos scored two goals and gave two assists as Lightning won their sixth consecutive game, passing the Colorado Avalanche 7-1 Saturday night.

"It was fun to be a part of it," Stamkos said. "I just thought we deserved everything we got today, including some jumps and some breaks, but when you're at the top of the record as we were tonight, it will be difficult for the other team."

Stamkos scored twice in the first period and had two assists in the second period. It was the 13th best four-point game of his franchise.

Tampa Bay also scored two goals for Ondrej Palat and Louis Domingue made 29 saves. Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn and Anthony Cirelli had Lightning's other goals.

Nathan MacKinnon scored a goal for Avalanche, who has 10-2-2 in the last 14 games. Semyon Varlamov was pulled in the middle of the second period, having allowed five goals in 23 shots.

Philipp Grubauer replaced Varlamov and scored twice in 15 shots.

"I do not think you can take advantage of this game," Grubauer said. "We made it easier for them, the best team in the league."

Tampa Bay held the line of MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog for three points. The trio came in with 48 goals and 124 points.

"We were not giving them time and space," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "When you do not give them any space, especially the big queue, this can be frustrating."

Rantanen secured his 48th point in the NHL with an assist that extended his sequence of points to 11 games (14 assists, 19 points).

Stamkos opened the scoring of the left circle of a pass by the knockout of Nikita Kucherov during a power play of 3:05 in the game. Kucherov has 21 assists and 26 points in the last 13 games.

"I thought it started with PP," Johnson said. "Achieving that goal fast, I think we're still going about it."

After Stamkos scored on a backhander at 13:15 of the first, MacKinnon made it 2-1 just 59 seconds later.

MacKinnon has 20 goals in 30 games, linking Joe Sakic's team record in Colorado in 1995-96 with fewer games needed to reach the mark.

Johnson put Tampa Bay 3-1 at the end of the first.

Stamkos made a pass in the left circle and fell to Yanni Gourde, who put Killorn's goal two minutes to go, putting Tampa Bay ahead 4-1.

Palat and Cirelli added goals in the second period.

"We need to be much better than we were today," said Tyson Jost of Colorado. "Everyone knows that."

Palat had a power goal in the third.

GRADES: Stamkos has 67 multi-goal games. … Injured Tampa Bay G Andrei Vasilevskiy (left fractured foot) and D Anton Stralman (upper body) both participated in the morning skid. Vasilevskiy may return within the next three weeks, while Stralman's status is being reviewed weekly. … Rantanen, Landeskog and MacKinnon have a point in the same goal 17 times. … Colorado C Vladislav Kamenev left the first with an undisclosed injury.


Avalanche: Come home on Tuesday night to play in Edmonton.

Lightning: Host the New York Rangers on Monday night.


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