Stamkos reaches 30-goal mark again as Lightning beat Islanders 4-1 to improve to 8-0-1 in last nine

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Stamkos Celebrates Bolts Defeat Rangers
Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) celebrates his goal against the New York Islanders with the bench during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 30, 2024, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Steven Stamkos reached the 30-goal mark for the ninth time in his career and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the New York Islanders 4-1 on Saturday night to extend their point streak to nine games.

Anthony Cirelli had two goals and an assist, and Darren Raddysh also scored as the Lightning improved to 8-0-1 since March 7 and beat the Islanders for the fifth straight time at Amalie Arena.

Stamkos deflected Emil Lilleberg’s shot past Semyon Varlamov 21 seconds into the third period, putting Tampa Bay ahead 3-1. The goal, which survived a video review for a possible high stick, was the 545th of his career, moving him past Hall of Famer Maurice Richard into sole possession of 32nd place on the NHL’s all-time list.

“He knows how to score, obviously, and he does it in different ways,” Cirelli said. “That was an unbelievable tip by him.”

Tampa Bay’s captain has scored at least 30 goals in each of the past three seasons.

“It was nice to get that insurance goal pretty early,” Stamkos said. “I was pretty confident it wasn’t a high stick. It was nice to see that one go in, just the timing of the goal to give us a two-goal cushion there.”

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves to win his seventh straight start against the Islanders and improve to 13-4-0 against them in his career.

“He’s been a rock and the last 10-12 games,” coach Jon Cooper said of Vasilevskiy. “When the team breaks down in front of you, someone has got to be there to clean up the mess and Vasy was there tonight.”

Kyle Palmieri scored and Varlamov finished with 38 saves for the Islanders, who are 2-7-1 in their last 10 games. They trail Washington by five points for third place in the Metropolitan Division and are also five behind Philadelphia for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

The Islanders took a 1-0 lead 2:25 into the game, scoring on their first shot when Palmieri’s wrister from the right boards hit Lightning defenseman Matt Dumba in front and went past Vasilevskiy.

However, the Lightning scored twice in 35 seconds to take the lead. Raddysh’s power-play goal with 5:35 remaining in the period evened the score, and Cirelli was alone in the slot when he beat Varlamov to put the Lightning ahead for good.

The Lightning outshot the Islanders 21-6 in the first period, and only several brilliant saves by Varlamov kept New York within a goal.

“We didn’t have a good start, that’s for sure,” coach Patrick Roy said. “They jumped on us right away. We didn’t handle the puck well in the first. … Varly was outstanding. In the first period we gave up a lot of chances and he kept us in the game.”

Cirelli capped the scoring by hitting the empty net with 2:46 remaining.

UP NEXT

Islanders: Complete a three-game road trip at Philadelphia on Monday night.

Lightning: Finish a three-game homestand against Detroit on Monday night.

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AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL