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Stamkos quietly reaches career milestone

The Lightning captain made history in Tampa Bay's 7-1 rout of Pittsburgh on Saturday

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos hit a number of milestones and career marks in Saturday's 7-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In the first period, he netted his 113th career power-play goal to pass Vincent Lecavalier (112) for most all-time in Lightning history.

He tallied a goal and three assists total against the Pens, the four-point night tying a career high for most points in a game.

He continued his season-opening point streak, pushing it to nine game for a new personal high, bettering the run of eight-straight games with points he went on to start 2012-13.

Buried among all those achievements, however, Stamkos also collected his 600th career point on Saturday with the primary assist on Mikhail Sergachev's third period power-play goal to become just the third Lightning player in history to reach that milestone.

Video: PIT@TBL: Stamkos earns 600th point on Sergachev's PPG

The fact that it came rather quietly speaks to just how good Stamkos as well as the rest of the Lightning have been to start the 2017-18 season.

"It's just special for me to be back here contributing to the great start to our season," Stamkos said Monday following the Bolts' practice at AMALIE Arena. "It's definitely nice to do, nice to do at home in a win and hopefully a lot more to come and keep helping my team."

All 600 points in Stamkos' career have come with the Lightning.

"Probably not a lot of people get to say they've accumulated that many points with one team too, which is cool," Stamkos said. "I wouldn't say it's something you lose sleep over, but it's nice to do, especially a game like that and a win like that. It was fun."

Lightning head coach Jon Cooper didn't realize Stamkos was close to the career mark until someone brought it up in the locker room following Saturday's game.

"When you look at, especially he had a four-point effort against the Penguins, how well we played that night, you can't overlook the fact that 600 points is a lot of points in this league," Cooper said. "He's just shy of 600 games, so to play that many games and be above a point per game player, it's one thing to do that in 10 games but to do it in 600 games is pretty impressive. He's deserved this. You've got to be really happy for him, especially for the amount of games he's missed the past few years."

Stamkos has 600 career points in 595 NHL games to average 1.01 points per game for his career.

The 27 year old is one of just seven players to average over a point a game from when he entered the league for the 2008-09 season until now, joining Sidney Crosby (1.29), Evgeni Malkin (1.17), Connor McDavid (1.16), Alex Ovechkin (1.07), Patrick Kane (1.04) and Nicklas Backstrom (1.02).

In the first period of Saturday's blowout win, Stamkos scored his 113th career power play goal, redirecting Vladislav Namestnikov's spinning, backhand, cross-crease pass into a wide-open net to give the Lightning an early 2-0 advantage and Stamkos the franchise mark for power-play markers.

Video: PIT@TBL: Stamkos buries PPG, sets team record

"That's special too, obviously," he said. "Vinny was a huge piece of this franchise, and to get a chance to play with him and see him score a lot of power-play goals firsthand, I'm sure Kuch will have that record someday, but for now, it's nice to have that."

On Monday, Stamkos learned even more good news: He was named the NHL's First Star of the Week after recording four-consecutive multi-point games and compiling nine assists and 11 points. Teammate Nikita Kucherov was the league's Second Star of the Week, tallying five goals and three assists through four games last week.

Stamkos currently leads the NHL for scoring (3-15-18). Kucherov ranks second (10-6-16).

"Things are going well right now," Stamkos said. "Definitely can't take it for granted. There's really good stretches and there's tough stretches throughout your career, throughout seasons. Everything that Kuch is shooting right now seems to find the back of the net. It's just one of those things. You just ride those streaks as long as possible because it's definitely fun to be on when you go through something like that. You just try to keep it going because as easy as it might look with the way Kuch is shooting the puck and the points are coming for our line and our team, it's not quite that easy and it can go the other way. So you just try to ride it out as long as possible."

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