Center Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning are piling up points.
Stamkos had three goals to become the first player from the 2008 draft to reach 700 points, and the NHL-leading Lightning won their seventh consecutive game on Monday by beating the New York Rangers 6-3.
“Stammer is finding his groove,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said.
Stamkos scored power-play goals that tied the game in the first and second periods. The center completed his ninth hat trick — and first since Oct. 13, 2014, against Montreal — from the slot at 10 minutes, 41 seconds of the third period.
“I knew it had been a while,” Stamkos said with a laugh. “I don’t know the exact date. I don’t want to hear it.”
The Lightning star, coming off a two-goal, two-assist outing in Saturday’s 7-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche, has 701 points in 696 career games. He joins Martin St Louis (953) and Vincent Lecavalier (874) as the only Tampa Bay players reaching the 700-point milestone.
Ryan McDonagh had a go-ahead goal and Anthony Cirelli had the other two Tampa Bay goals, while Louis Domingue made 23 saves.
Kevin Hayes had two goals and Jesper Fast also scored for the Rangers, who have lost six of eight (2-5-1). Henrik Lundqvist stopped 30 shots.
“To be able to beat some of the best teams, you have play really strict and smart, and make the right decision with or without the puck,” Lundqvist said. “So, the next time we play a top team like this, we need to do all those things.”
Stamkos scored from the left circle while falling down at 6:19 of the second before McDonagh put Tampa Bay up 3-2 with 7:18 left in the period.
“Nothing kind of seems to faze us,” McDonagh said.
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead 12:19 into the game when Hayes had a backhander from the left circle deflect off McDonagh’s skate.
After Stamkos scored at 14:09 of the first period, Hayes made it 2-1 with a rebound goal just 58 seconds later.
Red Wings 3, Kings 1
Jimmy Howard made 42 saves and Dylan Larkin scored an unassisted goal as hosts the Detroit Red Wings topped the Los Angeles Kings.
Larkin has had two goals and five assists over the past four games.
Dennis Cholowski and Frans Nielsen also scored for Detroit, who bounced back from a 3-2 home loss to the New York Islanders two nights earlier.
Anze Kopitar scored the lone goal for the struggling Kings, who kept constant pressure on Howard, but could not break through until the third period. Jonathan Quick stopped 18 shots for the Kings, who have lost five of their past seven games.
Penguins 2, Islanders 1
Jake Guentzel scored the decisive goal in the fifth round of a shootout as Pittsburgh edged New York in Uniondale, New York.
Phil Kessel scored in the second round of the shootout for the Penguins before Josh Bailey extended the game by scoring in the third round for the Islanders.
The shootout capped a taut defensive battle in which the teams combined for 50 shots — 26 for the Islanders — over the first 65 minutes.
Sharks 5, Devils 2
Timo Meier scored twice to lead the offensive attack and goalie Martin Jones regrouped after surrendering a bad opening goal as hosts the San Jose Sharks beat the New Jersey Devils.
Jones finished with 22 saves to give the Sharks a second straight win and their fourth victory in the past five outings.
Tomas Hertl scored for San Jose, while Joe Pavelski notched his seventh goal in eight games and 20th of the season, and Radim Simek had the first of his NHL career.
Drew Stafford and Andy Greene found the net for the Devils, who got 29 saves from Keith Kinkaid.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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