Stamkos gets 498th goal, Lightning beat Coyotes 5-3

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Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports
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TAMPA, Fla. — Steven Stamkos scored his 498th goal and the Tampa Bay Lightning rallied to beat the Arizona Coyotes 5-3 on Saturday.

Stamkos stopped a six-game goal drought, putting the Lightning ahead 3-2 from the left circle during a power play at 11:12 of the second period. The star center tied Glenn Anderson for 47th place on the career list.

The Lightning captain has 189 power-play goals, one away from tying Pierre Turgeon for 22nd all-time. Stamkos also had a third-period assist and tied Pat LaFontaine for 89th on the career points list with 1,013.

Brayden Point, Mikhail Sergachev, Alex Killorn and Brandon Hagel also scored as the Lightning won their seventh straight home game.

Point set a team record with a goal in eight consecutive home games. Victor Hedman had three assists, and Nikita Kucherov added two helpers to reach 40 assists in 35 games, the fastest in franchise history.

Andrei Vasilevskiy, starting for the third time in four days, made 29 saves.

Arizona, which has lost nine straight road games (0-7-2), got goals from Travis Boyd, Christian Fischer and Nick Bjugstad. Karel Vejmelka stopped 30 shots.

Stamkos’ goal came 28 seconds after Sergachev scored. Arizona challenged the play for offside, but the call stood. The Coyotes received a minor penalty for the failed challenge, leading to Stamkos’ 17th goal this season.

Bjugstad scored 92 seconds after Stamkos’ goal, but Tampa Bay went up 4-3 on Killorn’s breakaway goal with 1:01 left in the second.

Hagel had a power-play goal in the third.

Boyd and Fischer put Arizona up 2-0 with goals 34 seconds apart in the first.

Boyd got the opening goal when the rebound of his shot went off Tampa Bay defenseman Zach Bogosian 6:12 into the game.

Point cut the deficit to 2-1 at 10:53 of the first by knocking home a thigh-high puck. Point has 15 goals in his last 16 games.

ONE-SIDED AFFAIR

The Lightning look to continue their dominance over the Blackhawks on Tuesday night in Chicago. Since the Blackhawks beat Tampa Bay 4-2 in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, the Lightning have won 17 of 20 regular-season meetings between the teams. Vasilevskiy is 13-0-0 in regular-season games against Chicago. The Blackhawks split two games when facing Vasilevskiy in the 2015 Final.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz sat out with an upper-body injury.

UP NEXT

Coyotes: Play at Florida on Tuesday night.

Lightning: The game in Chicago starts a three-game trip.

Coyotes end 19-game losing streak to Bruins with 4-3 win

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Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports
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TEMPE, Ariz. — Lawson Crouse scored his second goal with 13.5 seconds left in the third period and the Arizona Coyotes returned home to end a 19-game losing streak to the Boston Bruins with a 4-3 victory Friday night.

The Coyotes returned from a 14-game road trip to play at Mullett Arena for the first time since Nov. 3. They got off to a great start when Josh Brown scored 23 seconds into the game and led 3-2 on Nick Schmatz’s third-period goal.

The NHL-leading Bruins tied it on Nick Foligno‘s power-play goal with 5 1/2 minutes left, but Coyotes closed it out in the closing seconds after an icing was called off.

Boston goalie let the puck trickle across the line and Arizona rookie Matias Maccelli snatched it between two defenders, feeding Crouse for a one-timer.

Karel Vejmelka stopped 43 shots to help the Coyotes end a six-game losing streak.

David Pastrnak and Charlie Coyle each scored, and Jeremy Swayman had 12 saves for the Bruins.

Arizona left the desert for its elongated road trip to give Arizona State time to finish an annex at the 5,000-seat shared Mullett Arena.

The Coyotes got the trip off to a good start with three straight wins, but went 1-7-3 the rest of the way.

They wasted no time feeling comfortable back at their temporary home, scoring 23 seconds in when Brown shot through a passing screen and beat Swayman to the glove side.

Pastrnak tied it on a power play four minutes later, punching in a rebound during a wild scramble in front of Vejmelka.

Jakob Chychrun to have put Arizona up 2-1 on a power play early in the second period, but the officials upheld Boston’s challenge that the Coyotes were offside.

Boston then took the lead and this one counted when Coyle jammed in a rebound past Vejmelka from the edge of the crease.

The lead didn’t last long.

Crouse scored less than three minutes later by redirecting Shayne Gostisbehere‘s shot from above the left circle, then Vejmelka stopped consecutive breakaways in less than a minute.

Schmaltz needed 53 seconds of the third period to put Arizona back up, beating Swayman after a pass from Clayton Keller.

NOTES: Arizona was without rookie Dylan Guenther, who was loaned to Team Canada for the world junior championships. … Boston is (10-1-1) against Western Conference teams this season. … Chychrun had an assist on Crouse’s goal for his 150th NHL point.

UP NEXT

Bruins: At Las Vegas on Sunday.

Coyotes: Host Philadelphia on Sunday.

Deal for Coyotes’ proposed arena approved by Tempe council

David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
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TEMPE, Ariz. — The Tempe City Council has unanimously approved a proposal for a new Arizona Coyotes arena and entertainment district, clearing the way for a public vote on the project next year.

The City Council approved the proposal 7-0 after a lengthy meeting that included NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

The $2.1 billion project would include a 16,000-seat arena, practice rink, 1,600 apartments, two hotels and a theater. Approval of the project was the final step before it goes to referendum on May 16.

The team is currently playing at Arizona State’s 5,000-seat Mullett Arena, by far the NHL’s smallest arena.

The Coyotes have been searching for a permanent home since the city of Glendale pulled out of a multimillion-dollar lease at Gila River Arena. Arizona had been playing on an annual lease until Glendale said it would not be renewed for the 2022-23 season.

Crosby starts 18th season with a bang, Penguins top Coyotes 6-2

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Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

PITTSBURGH — This is why Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang stayed in Pittsburgh. And why the Penguins wanted them back, Sidney Crosby most of all.

Yes, they’re well into their 30s. Yes, they have far fewer games in front of them than behind them. Yet when they’re healthy and they’re right, they remain potent playmakers on a team that believes its Stanley Cup window remains wide open.

The proof arrived during a dazzling if familiar sequence late in the second period of Pittsburgh’s 6-2 season-opening victory over Arizona on Thursday night.

Malkin won a faceoff in the Coyotes’ zone and dropped the puck to Letang at the point. Letang then fed Malkin along the goal line. Malkin passed to Crosby, whose shot on net was turned away.

No matter, the puck made its way to Malkin’s stick and he jammed it home, the exclamation point on a night that was both cathartic and a reminder of how much life the Penguins’ longtime core insists they have in their 30-something-year-old legs.

The longtime franchise cornerstones combined for two goals and four assists as they joined former New York Yankee stars Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada as the longest-tenured trio of teammates in major North American professional sports history.

Crosby began his 18th season by scoring his 518th career goal 1:22 into the first period, part of an early three-goal deluge in which the Penguins quickly seized control. Letang also had two assists while Malkin looked dominant at times now well over a year removed from knee surgery that limited his effectiveness at times last spring.

“Geno had Geno’s best game tonight, I thought,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said of Malkin. “He had the puck all night long.”

Jake Guentzel, Jason Zucker, Bryan Rust and Kasperi Kapanen also scored for Pittsburgh. Tristan Jarry, who was limited to just one appearance during the Penguins’ first-round playoff loss to the New York Rangers last spring, made 26 saves.

Nick Ritchie scored twice for the rebuilding Coyotes. Karel Vejmelka improved as the game wore on to stop 47 shots.

“The start we had, that’s what hurt us,” Arizona coach Andre Tourigny said. “We weren’t mentally engaged enough. We got better during the game, never quit, came back and worked hard. But (we) need to find a way to get out of the gate with more urgency mentally.”

Pittsburgh’s pregame ceremony was cathartic for the sellout crowd following a few tense days in early summer in which Letang and Malkin’s futures with the club were both unclear as free agency loomed. Letang ultimately opted to stick around on a six-year deal and Malkin followed suit shortly thereafter by agreeing to a four-year pact just hours before hitting the open market.

The signings sent a very clear message that new owners Fenway Sports Group – which purchased the club from Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle last fall – believes Pittsburgh remains a legitimate Stanley Cup threat.

It will take months if not years to know whether it was the right move, but the very early returns were promising.

Crosby needed all of 82 seconds to give the Penguins the lead, taking a pretty cross-ice backhand feed from Guentzel then ripping a shot over Vejmelka’s glove. It marked the first time in Crosby’s career he’s scored Pittsburgh’s first goal of the season.

“Took me a while (to do that),” Crosby said. “I don’t know. It’s nice to get a start like that and obviously get a win.”

Zucker, who dealt with various injuries last season, made it 2-0 less than 3 minutes later with by firing a one-timer from just above the right circle. Guentzel pushed the lead to three 5:12 into the first by flipping a shot into an empty net on the power play.

Tourigny believes his team is in a better place than it was a year ago, when the Coyotes finished with the NHL’s worst record. Maybe, but the Coyotes are likely facing another difficult year that includes playing 20 of their first 24 games on the road.

Arizona didn’t win a game during the preseason and looked overmatched for the first 25 minutes or so before Ritchie’s two power-play goals briefly gave the Penguins a scare.

“We fought pretty hard the last two periods,” Ritchie said. “It was definitely better. We obviously have some work to do.”

NOTES: Arizona rookie F Dylan Guenther, the club’s 2021 first-round pick, was a healthy scratch after making the team as a 19-year-old. … Pittsburgh went 2 for 6 on the power play. The Coyotes were 2 for 5 with the man advantage.

UP NEXT

Coyotes: Continue a season-opening six-game trip in Boston on Saturday.

Penguins: Welcome Tampa Bay on Saturday night.

Training camps open around NHL after another short offseason

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Training camps open around the NHL after another short offseason, a third in a row squeezed by the pandemic. That doesn’t bother Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon one bit.

For one of hockey’s best players and his teammates, it’s already time to get back on the ice and defend their Stanley Cup title, less than three months since they knocked off the back-to-back champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

“I still feel like I just was playing,” MacKinnon said. “I took two weeks off, and then I started skating again. It’s just fun. I enjoy it, and I like the short summer. It feels like the season’s just kind of rolling over again.”

The NHL rolls into fall coming off an entertaining playoffs and final with the chance to finally get back on a normal schedule. That means full camps for teams that got new coaches and the benefits of a regular routine.

That means a mere 88 days between Game 6 of the final and the first-on ice practice sessions.

“We’re kind of used to it now,” Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy said after he and the Lightning lost in the final for the first time in three consecutive trips. “It’s a little harder, of course, because you don’t have that much time to rest. It’s basically a few weeks and you have to get back at it. But, yeah, I can’t complain. You want your summers to be short every year.”

It was a little longer for Connor McDavid and the Oilers after losing to Colorado in the West final. Despite the lack of downtime, McDavid “wouldn’t trade that in for anything” and aims to make it even further since Edmonton shored up its goaltending situation by adding Jack Campbell.

A few spins of the goalie carousel ended with the Avalanche acquiring Alexandar Georgiev from the New York Rangers and Cup winner Darcy Kuemper landing with Washington. Joining new teammates, many of whom hoisted the Cup in 2018, Kuemper is not worried about less time off.

“It was definitely a very unique summer,” Kuemper said. “With how short it was, you start getting back into the gym and you’re kind of a little bit worried that your training’s going to be so short. But you kind of felt like you weren’t getting back into shape. You were already there.”

NEW COACHES

The Oilers are one of several teams settling in for training camp under a new coach. Jay Woodcroft took over as interim coach in February but has the full-time job now.

“Looking forward to a camp with him,” McDavid said. “He did a great job coming in during the middle of the season, but it’s never easy on a coach, for sure. I’m sure there’s things that he wanted to touch on that you wasn’t able to kind of in the middle of the year, so he’ll be able to to touch on all of it this year.”

The same goes for Bruce Boudreau in Vancouver, 11 months since being put in charge of the Canucks. Philadelphia’s John Tortorella, Boston’s Jim Montgomery, Vegas’ Bruce Cassidy, Dallas’ Peter DeBoer, Florida’s Paul Maurice, Chicago’s Luke Richardson, Detroit’s Derek Lalonde and the New York Islanders’ Lane Lambert are all starting the job fresh.

CAMP TRYOUTS

Roughly 40 players are attending a camp on a professional tryout agreement with the chance to earn a contract for the season. James Neal has that opportunity with the Blue Jackets, and Derek Stepan returned to Carolina to seek a job with the Hurricanes.

The most intriguing situation involves 37-year-old center Eric Staal, who agreed to the tryout with Florida the same time brother Marc signed a one-year contract. Younger brother Jordan was with Eric and Marc on the 18th green at Pebble Beach to witness the occasion.

“They’re both just super pumped, as was I,” said Jordan Staal, who is the captain of the Hurricanes. “Eric is excited about the opportunity and Marc, as well. Really cool. Really cool thing.”

EARLY START

Before the puck drops on the NHL season in North America on Oct. 11, the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks play twice in Prague on Oct. 7 and 8. And those are not exhibitions.

“We still play two important games,” said Sharks forward Tomas Hertl, who is a native of Prague. “It’s not just preseason where you coming here to warm up.”

Colorado and Columbus will also play two games in Tampere, Finland, on Nov. 4-5 as part of the NHL’s Global Series.

And just as the league gets used to a regular schedule, work is ongoing between the league and NHL Players’ Association to stage a World Cup of Hockey in February 2024, which is popular among players even if it knocks the calendar off kilter again.

“I think they missed out on a huge, huge portion of the international game that’s really going to be missed,” McDavid said. “We need to figure out a way to get an international tournament in as quickly as possible.”