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Stamkos leads Lightning over Penguins

Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust each scored in the 5-4 losing affair at Tampa Bay Thursday night.

TAMPA, Fla. — Steven Stamkos scored his first goal since having right knee surgery last November and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 on Thursday night.

Stamkos made the score 3-1 with a power-play goal at 3:49 of the second period from the low left circle. Stamkos previously scored on Nov. 15 at Detroit, the same game in which he suffered a season-ending lateral meniscus tear in the knee.

Stamkos entered with five assists in three games.

Slater Koekkoek got his first two NHL goals, and Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov also scored for the Lightning. Alex Killorn had four assists, while Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves.

Koekkoek got his first goal, coming in his 43rd game, 6:07 into the first. His second extended the lead to 5-3 late in the second.

Pittsburgh got goals from Jake Guentzel, Conor Sheary, Bryan Rust and Matt Hunwick. Antti Niemi, who allowed four goals on 13 shots over 9:16 against Chicago on Oct. 5 in his Penguins debut, stopped 29 shots.

Kris Letang assisted on Guentzel’s goal and joined Paul Coffey (332) as the only Pittsburgh defenseman to reach 300 assists.

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