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Stamkos, Kucherov powering Lightning's fast start

Prolific linemates help Tampa Bay match best nine-game start in its history

NHL.com @NHL

The combination of Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov continues to power the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Stamkos and Kucherov began another big night when they combined on a goal 1:36 into the Lightning's 7-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday at Amalie Arena

Stamkos finished with four points (one goal, three assists) and Kucherov had three (two goals, one assist); each extended his season-opening point streak to nine games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, they are the second pair of teammates in the past 24 years to start a season with point streaks of at least nine games. Doug Weight and Pavel Demitra of the St. Louis Blues began the 2001-02 season with nine-game point streaks.

Video: Stamkos, Kucherov lead Lightning in rout of Penguins

At 7-1-1, the Lightning have matched the best nine-game start in their history (they were 7-1-1 in 2003-04, when they won the Stanley Cup) and have more points than any team in the NHL. Tampa Bay is 6-0-1 in its past seven games and 5-0-0 at home.

Stamkos, who missed the Lightning's final 65 games last season because of a knee injury, leads the NHL with 18 points (three goals, 15 assists); Kucherov is second with 16 (10 goals, six assists). Elias says Stamkos is the fourth player in the past 24 years to have 15 assists in his team's first nine games of the season, as well as the fourth in the past 21 years to average at least two points per game through his team's first nine games. The others were Jaromir Jagr of the Penguins in 1999-2000 (18 points, 2.00 per game), Mario Lemieux of the Penguins in 2002-03 (20 points, 2.22 per game) and Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres in 2012-13 (19 points, 2.11 per game).

Stamkos scored the 113th power-play goal of his career in the win against Pittsburgh, passing Vincent Lecavalier for the most in Lightning history. He also became the third player, after Martin St. Louis and Lecavalier) to have 600 points (324 goals, 276 assists) with the Lightning. Stamkos ranks second in the NHL in goals and power-play goals since entering the NHL in 2008-09, behind only Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, who has 405 goals and 156 power-play goals during that span.

 

Everything still Golden

The Vegas Golden Knights continue the historic start to their inaugural season and this time around they won the game with their third string goalie between the pipes.

 Video: STL@VGK: Karlsson scores off Smith's pass in OT

 

A legend drops the puck

The trailblazing Willie O'Ree was on hand in Columbus and opened the game in style.

Video: LAK@CBJ: Blue Jackets honor O'Ree during puck drop

 

Teamwork makes the dream work

Just Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane doing the things that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane do for the Chicago Blackhawks

Video: CHI@ARI: Kane scores beauty on breakaway

 

Guess who's home

A Navy Corpsman surprised his parents at the Penguins-Lightning game.

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