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Stamkos earns 500th point in Lightning's win at Bruins

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON – There haven't been a lot of highlights for Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos at TD Garden.

He lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final to the Boston Bruins here. He sustained a broken tibia that forced him to miss the majority of the 2013-14 season here. The Lightning had lost 10 straight regular-season games here since March 25, 2010.

Stamkos, though, turned the Garden into a joyous arena for him and the Lightning on Monday. He scored a power-play goal in the second period for his 500th NHL point to put the Lightning ahead to stay in a come-from-behind 6-3 victory against the Bruins, improving Tampa Bay's record to 3-0-0.

"Yeah, it's special. I mean ... you really never know how much opportunity or how much longer you're going to be around in the League," said Stamkos, who has 500 points in 495 NHL games. "So to get 500 points, obviously [I'm] very fortunate. You think about all the people that helped you along the way get to this point. And to do it in a game where it was a big goal at the time, and in this building where I've had some ups and downs. So I guess another positive one in here. It was nice to have it come in a win."

The Lightning trailed the Bruins 2-0 early and the score was 3-3 when Stamkos provided his heroics. Stamkos beat Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask with a one-timer from the top of the left circle with 4:43 remaining in the second period for a 4-3 lead and his historic point.

"It was nice to have it as a meaningful goal in the game to get us up heading into the third," Stamkos said. "It was nice, obviously. Not a perfect game by us today but we found a way to win and obviously a good start to this road trip."

Center Brian Boyle (two goals) was one of four Tampa Bay players with two points. Goaltender Ben Bishop made 27 saves for the Lightning, who are 3-0-0 for the first time since 2010.

Forward Loui Eriksson had two goals and defenseman Torey Krug had three assists for Boston. Rask made 17 saves for the Bruins, who are 0-3-0 for the eighth time in history and the first time since 1999.

The Lightning took a 5-3 lead at 5:38 of the third period when Jonathan Drouin's shot fluttered through Rask's pads. The Bruins goaltender felt like he let the Bruins down.

"He dropped his shoulder and I kind of, I was too narrow in my stance and then I was late," Rask said. "So it's just one of those. You can't let in that at that point of the game. I made two saves at the start of third and then something like that happens, so you can't ... it deflates the whole atmosphere of the team, so that [stunk]."

The Bruins were 3-for-4 on the power play, including two goals in the first 11:02 of the game. Center David Krejci, who had a goal and two assists, beat Bishop with a slap shot from the top of the left circle through an Eriksson screen at 2:59. Eriksson then scored on a one-timer from the right side of the slot at 11:02.

Boyle started the Lighnting's comeback with a goal from between the circles at 15:42. Tampa Bay then cashed in on its own power play when Ondrej Palat scored on a deflection at 16:51 to tie it at 2-2.

Boyle's second goal came on a breakaway after a penalty kill and put the Lightning ahead 3-2 at 4:48 of the second period. Boston tied it 3-3 on Eriksson's second power-play goal of the game. Krejci's slap shot from the blue line went off Eriksson's body and past Bishop at 12:20.

That set the stage for Stamkos' heroics, which turned history in the Lightning's favor for the first time in a while in Boston.

"Yeah, it could've easily been a here-we-go-again moment with the way we've struggled in this building," Stamkos said about being down 2-0 and losing a 3-2 lead. "But obviously we'll address certain things on the penalty kill. But this is a different team. I've said that every year. It's a different team from last year too. We have that experience now, that calmness, that ability to realize there's still a lot of hockey left and we showed that tonight again."

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