TAMPA, Fla. -- A return home after 10 days on the road was a spark for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who scored twice in the first four minutes on the way to an easy 5-0 win against the New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Nikita Kucherov, a 20-year-old Russian right winger making his NHL debut, scored on his first shift, giving the Lightning the lead on a one-timer past goalie Henrik Lundqvist at 2:12 of the opening period. Less than a minute later, veteran right winger Martin St. Louis made it 2-0, flipping the puck high on a breakaway after intercepting an errant pass.
The Lightning (15-8-1) bounced back convincingly after an 0-3-1 road trip in which they were outscored 17-6.
Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop, who had 42 saves in a 1-0 overtime loss to the Ducks on Friday at Anaheim, was strong again in net. He made 17 saves in the opening period and finished with 37 in the shutout.
The Rangers (12-12-0) outshot the Lightning 27-22 in the first two periods but couldn't convert their opportunities.
St. Louis was honored before the game for playing in his 1,000th career game last week, and the 38-year-old clearly fed off the excitement, scoring again early in the second period for a 3-0 lead. His two goals gave him 10 for the season, this after he scored just once in his previous 12 games.
Tampa Bay made it 4-0 late in the second period when right winger Teddy Purcell scored unassisted with 3:08 remaining. Purcell struck again with 1:01 left in the third for the final margin with his seventh goal of the season.
Purcell had four goals in the Lightning's first six games of the year, just one in the following 17.
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist allowed four goals on 22 shots over the first two periods. Cam Talbot replaced him in the third period and stopped two of the three shots he saw.
The Lightning continue a three-game, five-day homestand on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Rangers stay in Florida to play the Panthers on Wednesday, and they play the Bruins in Boston on Friday.
NOTES: The pregame ceremony honoring Tampa Bay RW Martin St. Louis for playing in his 1,000th career game last week included injured Lightning C Steven Stamkos, who walked on the ice to cheers as he recovers from a broken leg, and former teammate Brad Richards (now with the Rangers) and Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman. ... Wednesday's home game against Philadelphia will be a homecoming for former Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier, who signed with the Flyers in the offseason after Tampa Bay bought out the final seven years of his contract. He will be honored with the team's Community Hero Award at the game. ... The current Lightning homestand is the team's longest until after the Olympics, when they host six games in a row from March 6-17.