TAMPA — The shot was a blur, and when it hit the net, you knew you had seen something special.
Lightning center Steven Stamkos continued Thursday night solidifying himself as one of the game's best young stars with two goals and three points in a 5-2 victory over the Senators at the St. Pete Times Forum.
But it was his second tally that got the raves.
"A special goal," coach Rick Tocchet said.
"That," wing Alex Tanguay said, "was beautiful."
Stamkos made it look simple: a move with speed around Ottawa's Milan Michalek, an undressing of veteran defenseman Chris Phillips and a wrist shot into the short-side top corner past goaltender Brian Elliott.
"I tried that move the shift before and didn't score on that one, but I figured I might as well give it another shot," Stamkos said. "I was lucky enough to get around Phillips there, and that's where I shoot a lot in practice."
It was Stamkos' team-best ninth goal and sixth in his past four games.
It also punctuated a terrific victory for Tampa Bay (4-3-3), which, at 4-0-2, remained the only team in the East without a home regulation loss and avenged a 7-1 loss at Ottawa on Oct. 15.
"We definitely used that as motivation," Stamkos said. "They spanked us pretty good in their home rink, so I think we got them back (Thursday night)."
With a well-rounded effort.
Tanguay, in his first game on a line with Stamkos and left wing Ryan Malone, scored his first goal of the season and first in 13 games, including last season.
Malone had three points and a big goal on a wraparound that made the score 3-0 with 5:12 left in the second period. Todd Fedoruk scored, defenseman David Hale and center Vinny Lecavalier each had two assists, and goalie Mike Smith, 2-0-1 in his past three games, had 21 saves.
There also was plenty of got-your-back stuff, especially from center Zenon Konopka, who fought tough-guy Chris Neil after Neil hit Steve Downie with a not-called elbow in the back of the head.
But it was Stamkos, 19, in his second season, who was the main man, with two power-play goals that tied him for the league lead with five, pending the Kings' late game with the Canucks.
The goals also broke a 1-for-16 streak for Tampa Bay with the extra skater and came against the league's top penalty kill.
"I'm feeling really confident on the ice," Stamkos said. "I want to be out there touching the puck a lot, making plays."
"He's got another level in him," Tocchet said. "He's a pretty good player."
Yes, he is, Hale said, adding, "I'm glad he's on my team."
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 8 (Lecavalier, St. Louis), 7:20 (pp). Penalties—Cheechoo, Ott (high-sticking), 6:19; Picard, Ott (tripping), 12:26; Michalek, Ott (roughing), 19:18; Hedman, TB (roughing), 19:18.
Second Period—2, Tampa Bay, Fedoruk 2 (Hale, Downie), 4:34. 3, Tampa Bay, Malone 8 (Hale, Tanguay), 14:48. Penalties—Hale, TB (hooking), 1:01; Neil, Ott, major (fighting), 7:51; Konopka, TB, major (fighting), 7:51; Ohlund, TB (elbowing), 9:02; Foligno, Ott, double minor (roughing), 18:21.
Third Period—4, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 9 (Lecavalier, Malone), 7:09 (pp). 5, Tampa Bay, Tanguay 1 (Malone, Stamkos), 9:29. 6, Ottawa, Ruutu 4 (Kelly, Donovan), 10:17. 7, Ottawa, Kovalev 4 (Alfredsson, Lee), 14:19. Penalties—Ruutu, Ott (delay of game), 6:48; Shannon, Ott (hooking), 11:10; Ruutu, Ott, major (fighting), 19:22; Downie, TB, served by Fedoruk, minor-major (roughing, fighting), 19:22; Neil, Ott (roughing), 20:00; Veilleux, TB (cross-checking), 20:00. Missed Penalty Shot—St. Louis, TB, 10:07 second. Shots on Goal—Ottawa 9-4-10—23. Tampa Bay 5-14-8—27. Power-play opportunities—Ottawa 0 of 3; Tampa Bay 2 of 6. Goalies—Ottawa, Elliott 2-1-1 (27 shots-22 saves). Tampa Bay, M.Smith 2-2-3 (23-21). A—13,213 (19,758).