TAMPA (WDAE) -- Steven Stamkos ended his 20s the way he wanted, with a goal and another win.
The Lightning captain, who turns 30 Friday, scored his 25th of the year, and Victor Hedman had three assists, as Tampa Bay earned its fifth straight victory with a 4-2 decision over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Tampa Bay jumped on Matt Murray midway through the first period, as after Pittsburgh killed off a Zach Anton-Reese penalty, a slapshot from the point by Mikhail Sergachev found its way past Matt Murray and into the net for his eighth goal of the year.
Stamkos added his goal less than four-minutes later, as he finished off a tic-tac-toe with Brayden Point by burying his 25th of the year for a 2-0 lead.
The Penguins were able to finally get to Andrei Vasilevskiy midway through the second period, when Patric Hornqvist's shot from the boards deflected off Evgeni Malkin's leg and in. For Malkin, it was his 17th goal of the year.
But Tampa Bay answered less than 30 seconds later, when Anthony Cirelli's two on one with Hedman ended with the forward wristing one past Murray for goal number 14 on the season.
John Marino cut the lead back to 3-2 early in the third, but Tampa Bay was able to keep the Penguins from tying up the game, including killing off a lengthy two-man advantage for Pittsburgh, and when Murray was pulled with under 90 seconds in the game, Nikita Kucherov iced the game with an empty-net goal, his 25th of the year.
Tampa Bay lost defenseman Ryan McDonagh to a lower-body injury early in the second period. After the game, head coach Jon Cooper said he hoped the prognosis was better than initially thought, but had no timetable as to when he might return.
Tampa Bay will look for a perfect homestand Saturday, when they take on the New York Islanders. Faceoff is scheduled for 7:00, and can be heard on NewsRadio WFLA.
- TBL: GOAL - Mikhail Sergachev (8). ASSISTS - Hedman, Johnson. TIME - 9:04.
- TBL: GOAL - Steven Stamkos (25). ASSISTS - Point, Kucherov. TIME - 12:55
- PIT: GOAL - Evgeni Malkin (17). ASSISTS - Hornqvist, Letang. TIME - 9:25
- TBL: GOAL - Anthony Cirelli (14). ASSISTS - Hedman, Palat. TIME - 9:52
- PIT: GOAL - John Marino (5). ASSIST - Malkin. TIME - 3:20.
- TBL: GOAL - Nikita Kucherov (25). ASSISTS - Hedman, Vasilevskiy. TIME - 19:27