Koekkoek drives Penguins cuckoo in Lightning win

by Gary Shelton on October 13, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Koekkoek scores the first of his two goals for Bolts./CARMEN MANDATO

Koekkoek scores the first of his two goals for Bolts./CARMEN MANDATO

Saturday, 3:30 a.m.

It took 23 years and 263 days for Slater Koekkoek to score his first NHL goal.

It took him one period to score his second.

Koekkoek, a Lightning defenseman who has struggled to work his way into the lineup, scored a pair of goals Thursday night to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-4 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Stamkos celebrates his goal with Alex Killorn./CARMEN MANDATO

Stamkos celebrates his goal with Alex Killorn./CARMEN MANDATO

Also scoring for the Lighthing were Victor Hedman (with one-tenth of a second left in the first period), Nikita Kucherov (his fourth in four games) and Steven Stamkos (his first of the year). Alex Killorn had four assists for Tampa Bay.

“There’s two teams that play very similar styles," Cooper said. "I didn’t mind our game. A majority of our chances that we gave up in the first two periods were given up on the power play, so 5-on-5 we’re doing fine. In the third period, I think we just tried to protect the lead a little bit, and we probably took our foot off the gas.”

Kucherov has four goals in four games./CARMEN MANDATO

Kucherov has four goals in four games./CARMEN MANDATO

Andrei Vasilevskiy won his third game of the season, stopping 36 goals. So far this season, Vasilevskiy has stopped 146 shots.

“Regardless of the time of year, coming in out of camp you just want to get out to a good start," Cooper said. "You don’t want to be chasing so early in the year. I mean there’s teams that stumble out of the gates and have been fine, but for us I thought it was imperative to get off to a good start. I like their compete (level). I liked their fight tonight. There’s so many things I liked about the game, and we’re pretty sure the fans liked it.”

The Bolts won for the third time in four games.

For all the goals that Stamkos has scored, he liked seeing Koekkoek get his first two:

“He’s a great teammate, and I think he only played three or four minutes last game," Stamkos said. "You wouldn’t know it with the way he acts. He comes to practice. He works and he got an opportunity to play some more tonight and made the best of it. Obviously congrats to him on his first goal. You wouldn’t know it was his first with the way he scored the second.”

Said Cooper: “You love being around when guys get their first (goal). He's been around the organization for a while. I didn't think it was his first goal when he scored. It's big. I'm really happy for him.

The Lightning is home Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues at 7 p.m.

Vasilevskiy stops Crosby down low./CARMEN MANDATO

Vasilevskiy stops Crosby down low./CARMEN MANDATO

 

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