Forward Nikita Kucherov had a four point game with a goal & three assists, plus center Steven Stamkos had two goals and an assist in the Tampa Bay Lightning's 6-0 win over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves in recording his 17th career shutout & it was the fourth straight game the team scored at least five goals.
Tampa Bay entered the game with a three game winning streak, having scored at least five goals in each of the wins, after totaling just four goals in the three games before the streak. But the Lightning didn't record their first shot on goal until over three minutes were gone in the first period & that was after Stars defenseman Taylor Fedun was sent off for tripping Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph.
The Lightning failed to score on their first power play attempt but made good on their second one, when Stars center Mattias Janmark was in the box. Lightning forward Ondrej Palat, who miss the previous two games with an upper body injury, fed Stamkos, who was to the left of Stars goalie Anton Khudobin. And the Lightning captain got his team on the scoreboard first with a one-time snap shot, for his 31st goal of the season.
It took the Lightning over five minutes to get the second goal of the game, but their third & fourth goal came very quickly. First defenseman Mikhail Sergachev skated in from the right point & snapped a shot high over Khudobin into the net. Then while the announcement of that goal was being made in the arena, during a rush, Stamkos pushed a pass to center Tyler Johnson, who then slid the puck past Khudobin, for the Lightning's second goal in 14 seconds & their third goal of the game. But the Lightning weren't done, because less than two minutes later & after assisting on the first two goals, Kucherov, the NHL's leader in points, made it 4-0 when he pumped a wrist shot over Landon Bow, who replaced Khuodbin in net after the Lightning's third goal.
The Lightning were outshot 13-10 in the first period but with just over 8 minutes into the second period, they made it four straight games with at least five goals after center Alex Killorn banged a shot off Bow that redirected into the net to make it 5-0.
The Lightning kept must of the action in their offensive zone in the second period. And after Stars center Tyler Seguin was called for a delay of the game penalty for shooting the puck over the glass, the Lightning went back on the power play. And with some strong puck control by the power play unit, Point & Kucherov, who has 11 points in the last three games, were able to set up Stamkos again, who waited just an extra second then ripped a shot past Bow for his second power play goal of the game & his 14th of the season on the man advantage.
With a six goal lead, the remaining question for the final 20 minutes was, will Vasilevskiy would record his fifth shutout of the season. And although the Lightning took one penalty in the third period & registered just two shots on goal in the final 20 minutes, it was the second time Vasilevskiy shut out the Stars this season.
Tampa Bay will look for their fifth straight win & fifth straight game with five goals or more when they host the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night. Coverage begins on 970 WFLA with the pregame at 6pm with puck drop scheduled for 7pm.
1. TBL- PPG- Stamkos 31st goal (Palat)- 7:19
2. TBL- Sergachev 3rd goal (Kucherov, Point)- 12:39
3. TBL- Johnson 20th goal (Stamkos, Palat)- 12:53
4. TBL- Kucherov 26th goal (Killorn, Cirelli)- 14:40
1. TBL- Killorn 12th goal (Stralman, McDonagh)- 8:23
2. TBL- PPG- Stamkos 32nd goal (Kucherov, Point)- 16:28
1. DAL- Fedun (Tripping 2 mins)- 2:41
2. DAL- Janmark (Tripping 2 mins)- 7:11
3. TBL- Miller (Slashing 2 mins)- 18:14
1. DAL- Seguin (Delay of Game-Puck Over Glass 2 mins)- 15:10
1. DAL- Radulov (Tripping 2 mins)- 3:49
2. TBL- Killorn (Slashing 2 mins)- 4:55
3. TBL- Erne (Roughing 2 mins)- 8:07
4. DAL- Benn (Slashing 2 mins)- 8:07
5. DAL- Benn (Roughing 2 mins)- 8:07