The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Stanley Cup title defense on Wednesday got off to a roaring start by dominating the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1 on the same night they unveiled their second Stanley Cup championship banner.
Canadian forward Steven Stamkos had a goal and two assists, while goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 shots in the season opening night of the 2020-2021 NHL regular season, which included a five-game slate.
The Lightning would not be defending their title in front of home fans right away due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The team showed off their new championship banner at center ice in front of some family members of the players, but decided to wait to raise it to the rafters until ticket-buying fans are allowed back into the arena, which would not be before at least Feb. 7.
Stamkos, Ondrej Palat, Mathieu Joseph, Anthony Cirelli and Brayden Point scored goals for the Lightning, who improved their league-leading winning percentage to 19-7-2 in season openers.
Dylan Strome scored late in the game on a power play for Chicago, and goalie Malcolm Subban stopped 28 of 33 shots in his 61st start in the NHL.
In Philadelphia, American Joel Farabee finished with a goal and four points as hosts the Philadelphia Flyers scored three unanswered goals in the final period to beat Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3.
Elsewhere, Morgan Rielly scored in overtime and John Tavares had a goal and two assists as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the visiting Montreal Canadiens 5-4, as the reshuffled seven-team Canadian division got under way.
“Good way to open the year with a win,” Rielly said. “We’ve got a lot of areas to get better, but to open with a win, it’s always a good feeling.”
SWEEP THE LEG: Poirier, determined to best McGregor, after losing to him in 2014, used low calf kicks to throw ‘Notorious’ off his stand-up game, before dropping him American underdog Dustin Poirier yesterday shook up the world of mixed martial arts, beating up the legs of Irish superstar Conor McGregor before knocking him out at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi. “I’m happy, but I’m not surprised. I put in the work,” Poirier said, after the referee stepped in after 2 minutes, 32 seconds of the second round to save McGregor from further damage, after he was dropped by a fierce combination of punches. The 32-year-old Poirier was ranked second in the flyweight division going into the fight, but still rated a heavy underdog by bookmakers to beat his fourth-ranked opponent,
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