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Stamkos hits 500 career goals, scores hat trick in win over Canucks

Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning Steven Stamkos - The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — Steven Stamkos scored a hat trick — including his 500th NHL goal — and the Tampa Bay Lightning handed the Vancouver Canucks a 5-2 defeat on Wednesday.

Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov each had a goal and an assist, and Alex Killorn contributed a pair of helpers.

The Canucks (18-23-3) replied with third-period power-play goals from Andrei Kuzmenko and Quinn Hughes.

Brian Elliott stopped 37-of-39 shots for the Lightning (29-13-1), who stretched their win streak to five games.

Vancouver goalie Spencer Martin allowed four goals on 10 shots before being pulled just past the midway mark of the first period. He was replaced by Collin Delia, who made 14 saves in relief.

The result marked the second time in a week that the Lightning beat the Canucks, following a 5-4 decision in Tampa on Jan. 12.

Vancouver has not won in regulation since taking a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Jan. 5. They are 1-5-0 since.

Stamkos sent his third goal of the night — and 21st of the season — into the empty net with 1:22 left on the game clock.

Hughes cut the Lightning's lead to 4-2 after Stamkos was called for tripping midway through the third.

The defenceman muscled his way to the front of the net and forced a backhanded shot up and over Elliott for his fourth goal of the season at the 9:10 mark.

The Canucks finally beat the Tampa goalie on their 32nd shot of the night 6:35 into the final frame.

With Erik Cernak in the box for interference, Hughes unleashed a rocket from inside the blue line. Kuzmenko, stationed in front of the net, tipped it in for his 18th goal of the season.

The home side was 2 for 4 with the man advantage while the Lightning went 0 for 1.

Vancouver couldn't dig itself out of a four-goal, first-period deficit, though.

Stamkos put away his second goal of the night 14:35 into the first, wrapping a wrist shot around Martin's outstretched pad to put the Lightning up 4-0.

Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau responded by pulling Martin and replacing him with Delia.

Point's backhanded shot 13:18 into the opening frame boosted Tampa's lead to 3-0. The goal was his team-leading 26th of the season.

Minutes earlier, Kucherov sent a blistering one-timer soaring from the faceoff circle to make it 2-0 for the visitors.

A milestone goal opened the scoring 4:40 into Wednesday's matchup. Killorn sliced a pass across the low slot to Stamkos and the Lightning captain tapped it in backdoor for the 500th regular-season goal of his career.

Tampa's bench emptied, with players mobbing Stamkos in the corner in celebration as the crowd cheered.


Vancouver paid tribute to former Canuck Wayne "Gino" Odjick, who died Sunday at 52. Players wore jerseys with Odjick's name and No. 29 on the back for warm-up, and nine of the legendary enforcer's Vancouver teammates joined scout Ron Delorme for a moment of silence and ceremonial puck drop. Cheers of "Gino! Gino! Gino!" echoed through the rink several times and highlights of Odjick's career played on the big screen throughout the game.


Stamkos extended his point streak to six games. He has four goals and six assists across the stretch. Hagel (two goals, five assists) has points in five straight and Killorn (two goals, four assists) made it onto the scoresheet for the fourth game in a row. Vancouver's Hughes also extended his streak Wednesday and now has eight points (two goals, six assists) in five games. Canucks captain Bo Horvat notched an assist and has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in nine outings.


Canucks: host the Colorado Avalanche on Friday.

Lightning: continue a season-long, five-game road swing Thursday against the Oilers in Edmonton.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2023.