Stamkos, Kucherov lead Lightning past Penguins, 7-1

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86), of Russia, gets a lift from defenseman Victor Hedman (77), of Sweden, after Kucherov scored against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov extended their season-opening points streaks to nine games and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the two-time Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins 7-1 on Saturday night.

Stamkos had a goal and three assists, and Kucherov had two goals and an assist. They are the first teammates to start the season with nine-game streaks since St. Louis’ Pavol Demitra and Doug Weight in 2001-02.

Andrei Vasilevskiy, coming off a 43-save blanking of Columbus on Thursday night, lost his bid for second straight shutout bid on Jake Guentzel’s goal with 1:42 to play. Vasilevskiy finished with 28 saves.

Yanni Gourde, Brayden Point Anton Stralman and Mikhail Sergachev also scored to help the Lightning improve to 7-1-1.

Penguins star Sidney Crosby received both minor and misconduct penalties during the opening 1:36 of the game. Backup goalie Antti Niemi, 0-3 in three starts, stopped 25 shots.

Pittsburgh is 5-2 over its last seven games, with both losses against Tampa Bay.

With Crosby off for cross-checking, Kucherov scored at 1:36 of the first. Kucherov got his 10th goal in Tampa Bay’s three-goal second.

After leaving the penalty box following Kucherov’s first goal, Crosby was given a 10-minute misconduct after arguing with referee Garrett Rank.

Stamkos made it 2-0 with a man-advantage goal with 5:44 left in the first. It was his 113th power-play goal, which broke a tie with Vincent Lecavalier (112) for most in Tampa Bay history.

After Vasilevskiy had a stellar save on Carl Hagelin, Tampa Bay took a 3-0 lead on Gourde’s backhand with two-tenths of second remaining in the first.

Niemi made an in-close save on Gourde during a short-handed 2-on-none 5 in minutes into the game. Niemi also lost 5-4 at Tampa Bay Oct. 12.

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