TAMPA, Fla. – Martin St. Louis had a most memorable night.
St. Louis scored two goals and added an assist after being honoured before the game, and the Tampa Bay Lightning stopped a four-game losing streak by beating the New York Rangers 5-0 on Monday night.
“For us to pull out the game the way we did, and for him to contribute the way he did, a little storybook in there,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said.
St. Louis received a silver stick and other gifts during a ceremony for playing in his 1,000th NHL game last Tuesday at Los Angeles. He was the 286th to reach the milestone.
“It’s pretty emotional,” St. Louis said. “The whole presentation. See my kids, my wife, my parents. When they started the (tribute) video, I couldn’t watch. I kind of lost it.
“It was a special night, and to be able to win the game and contribute. I’ll remember tonight for sure.”
Ben Bishop had 37 saves and improved to 14-3-1 for the Lightning, who returned home after an 0-3-1 trip. Nikita Kucherov scored on the first shift of his first NHL game, and Teddy Purcell added a pair of goals to complete the scoring.
The Rangers had their six-game, road-winning streak snapped. It was one short of matching the team record. New York won seven straight road games in a row in 1935 and 1978.
“We turned the puck over a couple of times in the neutral zone and they made us pay,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “We were unable to make them pay, especially in the first period when we had quality chances.”
Kucherov, recalled from Syracuse of the AHL on Sunday, put the Lightning up 1-0 from the left circle at 2:12 on his first NHL shot. St. Louis, who had just one goal in his previous 12 games, skated in from the right wing boards and lifted an in-close shot over goalie Henrik Lundqvist to make it 2-0 just 58 seconds later.
While celebrating the goal, St. Louis stumbled to the ice.
“I took a nice fall,” he said. “But I didn’t really care. I was so excited to score.”
St. Louis extended the lead to 3-0 with a breakaway goal at 3:12 of the second. The captain moved past Tampa Bay assistant coach Steve Thomas (933) into 92nd place on the NHL career points list with 936.
“Guys like that rise to the occasion, and sure enough, he goes out there and scores two goals after that ceremony.” Bishop said.
Purcell gave the Lightning a 4-0 lead with 3:08 left in the second. He also scored late in the third, with St. Louis getting an assist.
Bishop stopped 17 shots during the first, including a low left circle drive by Chris Kreider in the opening minute, and made a post-to-post glove save on Anton Stralman late in the period. He has won all four games he has played against the Rangers, including two shutouts.
Cam Talbot replaced Lundqvist, who gave up four goals on 22 shots, to start the third, but Talbot’s long shutout streak of 165 minutes, 27 seconds was broken. Talbot had posted shutouts in his previous two starts.
“I wasn’t able to come up with the saves,” Lundqvist said.
New York is 1-11 when allowing the first goal. Both Rick Nash and Brad Richards finished the game minus-3.
NOTES: Tampa Bay star Steven Stamkos is walking without crutches or a boot two weeks after breaking his right leg, which required surgery. He expects to play again this season. … Stamkos took part in the St. Louis on-ice ceremony. … Vigneault said LW Taylor Pyatt, who missed his eighth game due to a concussion, could soon be ready to play. Pyatt took part in Monday’s morning skate. … Injured Tampa Bay LW Ryan Malone (lower body) and D Radko Gudas (upper body) didn’t play. Cooper said both might play later this week. … Lundqvist is 16-8-6 against the Lightning.