It took longer than expected, but overall No. 1 pick Steven Stamkos finally found the back of the net, and he didn't stop at just one.
Stamkos, 18, scored the first and second goals of his career Thursday and added an assist in Tampa Bay's 5-2 win against the Sabres. After going scoreless in his first seven games, Stamkos has four points in the past two.
"That's a big monkey off my back," said Stamkos, who had about 40 friends and family make the drive from Toronto to see the game. "To get that first point Tuesday was great and to get the first goal is even better. The confidence is there now. I know I can score at this level."
Stamkos deflected a shot from Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier at the 9:51 mark of the first period with Tampa Bay on the power play to open the scoring. The goal was announced as Lecavalier's but was changed during the first intermission.
"That was a great feeling," Stamkos said. "I was a little scared there when they announced Vinny on the goal."
After picking up an assist on Ryan Malone's goal with 25.5 seconds left in the first period, Stamkos took a pass from Adam Hall and ripped a slap shot from the top of the right circle that beat Ryan Miller to the short side with five minutes left in the second period.
"To get that second one I think really solidified that I can be an impact player at this level and hopefully I can continue that," Stamkos said.