TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Steven Stamkos scored twice and finished with four points, and the Tampa Bay Lightning became the fourth NHL team to win at least 59 games in a season, rallying from two goals down to beat the Boston Bruins 5-4 on Monday night.
With five games remaining, Tampa Bay (59-14-4) has a chance to surpass the NHL record of 62 wins, set by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings. The only other franchise to win at least 59 was the Montreal Canadiens, who did it in 1976-77 (60 wins) and 1977-78 (59). Both of those Montreal teams went on to win the Stanley Cup.
Anthony Cirelli scored the winning goal, his 19th of the season, with 52.4 seconds left, as Tampa Bay won when trailing after the second period for the ninth time this season.
Stamkos scored twice and has 41 goals, reaching the 40-goal mark for the fifth time in his career and first time since 2014-15. He added two assists and has 93 points, becoming the third Tampa Bay player to reach 90 points alongside Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov. The Lightning are the first team since the Ottawa Senators and Atlanta Thrashers in 2005-06 to have three players get to 90 points in the same season.
Kucherov scored his 38th goal to record his 121st point of the year, the second-most by a Russian player in NHL history behind Alex Mogilny, who had 127 in 1992-93.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 13 shots for Tampa Bay.
Brad Marchand scored twice while Brandon Carlo and Charlie Coyle also scored for Boston. Tuukka Rask finished with 23 saves.
The Lightning led 2-1 after the first period on a pair of one-timers off the stick of Stamkos from the left circle.
Coyle, Carlo and Marchand all scored in a span of 5:50 as Boston turned the game around in the second period, taking advantage of two turnovers to grab a two-goal advantage.
Hedman followed up a breakaway attempt by Stamkos and tucked the rebound into the net to make it 4-3 at 5:36 of the third period. The Lightning tied the game with 6:45 remaining after Vasilevskiy made a toe-save on David Pastrnak and Stamkos sent Kucherov up ice for a 2-on-1 chance that Kucherov converted with a shot to the top far post.
NOTES: Lightning D Dan Girardi missed his ninth consecutive game with a lower-body injury, and coach Jon Cooper said Girardi is unlikely to return before the playoffs. … Tampa Bay D Anton Stralman (lower body) participated in Monday’s morning skate and could return by the weekend. … Boston LW Marcus Johansson (lung contusion) missed his 10th consecutive game, but coach Bruce Cassidy said a return on Wednesday is likely. … Bruins D John Moore left in the first period after he fell awkwardly into the boards and did not return. … Tampa Bay LW Ondrej Palat left in the first period and did not return after suffering an undisclosed upper-body injury. … Lightning RW Ryan Callahan recorded his 200th career assist.
Lightning: Host the Washington Capitals on Saturday.
Bruins: Host the New York Rangers on Wednesday.