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Kucherov, Lightning Break Losing Steak with Impressive Performance

Nikita Kucherov scored a goal and two assists Saturday afternoon as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the New York Islanders, 4-2. Brayden Point and Nick Paul added a goal each. The win ended a three-game losing streak plaguing the franchise.

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 32 of 34 shots to pick up his 20th win of the season. The Bolts started strong with Paul putting the first goal of the game in the net four minutes into the game. The Islanders answered back with a goal a minute later, but was reversed when the Lightning won a successful challenge for offsides.

From there the momentum continued to build for the Lightning through the game, drawing out boobirds from the UBS Arena crowd. The Lightning defense stifled the Islanders power play and pretty much anything else New York tried to muster. The only bright spots for the Islander offense came late in the game when coach Patrick Roy pulled goalie Ilya Sorokin to force two 6-on-4 power plays that resulted in their goals.

Until that point, Vasilevskiy and the Bolts kept the Isles scoreless. Tampa Bay played a solid game from the opening with aggressive play on both sides of the ice. Brayden Point had a season high seven shots on goal and now has 60 points on the season. The aggressive play allowed for them to hold on down the stretch as the Islanders attempted to rally.

“We took too many penalties,” Lightning Coach Jon Cooper said. “That cost us. (But) I liked our compete.”

New York pulled Sorokin one last time as time dwindled to try to even the score but was rebuked when Luke Glendening when he scored his ninth goal of the season with the empty netter.

Kucherov continues to lead the playoff push

Kucherov continues his blazing NHL-leading point tally as he climbs to the century mark with 24 games to play. The star forward continues to create highlight moments between himself and his teammates with great shots, no-look passes, and creative playmaking.


That leadership push is going to be necessary as the Lightning continue to hold on to the second and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The victory over the Islanders is key as New York is one of the teams trying to chase down Tampa Bay. The Bolts now have 67 points, one point behind the Detroit Red Wings in the first wild card spot.

Cooper showed some frustration after the game despite the win. The penalties obviously were a point of contention for Cooper going into the locker room.

“It should not have been that stressful,” he reiterated. “We can’t take the penalties we took. That was dumb.”

“Other than that, I thought we had a hell of a game.”

Three Stars of the Game

1. Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay. One goal and two assists for three points.

2. Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay. Three assists for the afternoon.

3. Brayden Point, Tampa Bay. One goal on a game leading seven shots.

Up Next

Speaking of the playoff push, another key game follows on Sunday as the Lighting (31-23-5, 67 pts) travel to New Jersey to face the Devils (29-24-4, 62 pts) . The Devils trail the Bolts by five points and the last time they met Kucherov scored a hat trick.

That effort will be much need tomorrow. Puck drop is at 1:00pm.

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