TAMPA, Fla. – Steven Stamkos’ latest milestone in his young career has put him in some select company.
Stamkos scored his 26th goal this season and the 100th of his career, leading the Tampa Bay Lightning past the Carolina Hurricanes 5-1 on Monday.
Stamkos (20 years 316 days) became the sixth NHL player to reach 100 goals before his 21st birthday, joining Wayne Gretzky, Jimmy Carson, Brian Bellows, Dale Hawerchuk and Ilya Kovalchuk.
“It was fun,” Stamkos said. “To score and to get a huge win. Couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Stamkos had one of three Lightning goals late in the second period that put Tampa Bay ahead 5-1. The centre’s milestone goal came in his 194th NHL game, in which Tampa Bay gave out bobbleheads of the player fast becoming one of the NHL’s elite.
“It’s obviously nice to have that accomplishment,” Stamkos said.
Dominic Moore, Martin St. Louis, Randy Clark and Sean Bergenheim also scored for the Lightning, who have won four in a row. Tampa Bay is 10-2-2 at home.
“We’re rolling right now,” St. Louis said. “We’re going good, but even keel. We can’t get too high. Just keep going about our business.”
Sergei Samsonov had the Carolina goal. Hurricanes backup goalie Justin Peters started in place of Cam Ward, who missed the Southeast Division game due to a mild infection on his forehead.
Ward had started the Hurricanes’ previous 10 games. Peters stopped 29 shots.
“In some stretches of this game we played better than we did in games that we won,” Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. “That’s just the beauty of hockey.”
The Hurricanes had a four-game winning streak end.
Clark started the second-period surge with a goal to make it 3-1 at 14:51 before Stamkos scored his milestone goal on a power-play at 16:26.
“He has a sense for the game,” Peters said of Stamkos. “He’s the type of player you’ve really got to know where he is on the ice every time he’s out there. He seems to find the pucks.”
Bergenheim extended the Lightning advantage to 5-1 during a power play with 1:02 left in the second. The left wing was stopped on a penalty shot by Peters with 5:10 remaining in the third.
Tampa Bay outshot the Hurricanes 18-2 during the second.
Moore stopped his 18-game goal drought and put the Lightning up 1-0 at 5:48 of the first. After Samsonov tied it on a power play at 15:52, St. Louis gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead from the left circle with 1 second left in the first.
St. Louis also had two assists. He has six points over the last two games.
“Everybody knows he’s a heart-and-soul guy,” Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. “Everybody gets energy from his attitude.”
NOTES: Lightning G Mike Smith hurt his left knee during a morning practice and is expected to be sidelined approximately two weeks. He was replaced by Dan Ellis, who made 21 saves. … Samsonov hadn’t scored a goal in his previous 10 games. … Peters came off the bench once—playing 58 minutes on Dec. 15 against Florida—over the previous 10 games. … Lightning LW Ryan Malone left with an upper-body injury. Boucher said Malone should be ready for Wednesday’s game at the New York Islanders. … Tampa Bay captain Vincent Lecavalier got his 750th career point on Bergenheim’s goal.