VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Steven Stamkos scored two goals and added an assist, and Ben Bishop made 30 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat Vancouver 4-2 on Saturday night and hand the Canucks their first loss of the season.
Ryan Callahan added a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay (3-1-1), and Alex Killhorn also scored. Ondrej Palat had two assists.
Chris Higgins and Alexander Edler scored for Vancouver (3-1), which had 20 saves from backup goalie Eddie Lack in his first start of the season. The Canucks were the last NHL team to lose this season.
Vancouver opened with two wins against Edmonton — including Friday night’s road victory — and one over Calgary, but ran into trouble against one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams.
The Canucks had a home sellout streak snapped at 474 games. The previous non-sellout in Vancouver was Nov. 12, 2002.
Down 2-1 after 20 minutes, the Canucks tied it 2:42 into the second when Edler took a pass from Daniel Sedin off the rush on a power play and ripped a shot past Bishop for his first goal.
After Vancouver failed to score on three straight power plays later in the period, the Lightning retook the lead at 16:48 just after a 5-on-3 advantage expired. Stamkos shattered his stick on a one-timer, went to the bench to pick up a new one, and promptly fed Callahan, who scored his third goal past a helpless Lack.
Tampa Bay stretched its lead to 4-2 at 6:04 of the third when Lack made a great save off Tyler Johnson in front, only to have Killhorn shovel in the rebound for his second.
Vancouver had a chance to get closer on a power play midway through the third, but Bishop scrambled to keep a shot out that deflected off a skate in front before hitting the post.
Starting in place of Ryan Miller, Lack called Stamkos one of the three best players in the world Saturday, and the Tampa Bay sniper showed why.
Palat jumped on a turnover by Canucks captain Henrik Sedin in the neutral zone and found a streaking Stamkos, who beat Lack with a slick backhand on the first shot the goalie faced this season just 53 seconds in.
The Canucks were looking to open with four consecutive wins for the first time since 1992. They got even when Higgins followed his own rebound and scored his first goal at 7:15.
But Stamkos netted his second of the night and fifth of the season just 1:11 later.
NOTES: Lightning D Victor Hedman left in the second period with an upper-body injury and didn’t return. … The Canucks will start a three-game trip on Tuesday against Dallas. … The Lightning will continue their five-game trip on Monday against Edmonton. … The Canucks will visit the Lightning in their only other meeting on Jan. 20. … Vancouver D Ryan Stanton sat out after sustaining an injury in Friday’s game. Yannick Weber took his spot in the lineup.
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