Lightning complete perfect 4-game homestand with OT win over Jets
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Brayden Point put the exclamation point on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s success stretch at home.
Point scored 36 seconds into overtime and the Lightning completed a perfect four-game homestand with a 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night.
“He’s been an instrumental player all year long,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said.
Overshadowed by the top two NHL points leaders Steven Stamkos (42) and Nikita Kucherov (41), Point has 12 goals and 26 points.
Point eluded a Winnipeg defender and put back a backhander past Connor Hellebuyck for the win. It was his third OT goal this season.
“It’s luck and it’s opportunity,” Point said.
Yanni Gourde, Mikhail Sergachev and Kucherov also scored for Tampa Bay, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 17 saves. The Lightning top the NHL with 13 home wins (13-2-1).
Andrew Copp, Kyle Connors and Nikolaj Ehlers scored for Winnipeg, which has lost three straight for the first time this season. Hellebuyck stopped 24 shots.
“I think don’t we were as sharp and quick as we’re capable of being,” Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said. “But pretty good fight.”
Jets were winless on a three-game trip, getting outscored 11-5 in the first two games.
“This is a big effort at the end of a road trip,” Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey said. “I thought we played well enough to win.”
Ehlers and Kucherov, with his 20th, traded goals 1:52 apart midway through the third.
Vasileskiy made two strong saves on Ehlers just before Kucherov’s goal tied the score 3-3.
Sergachev gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead with 3:21 left in the second when the 19-year old rookie defenseman skated into the slot from the left wing boards, did a spin move and scored on a wrist shot.
Connor made it 2-2 on his 21st birthday just 1:23 later.
Copp opened the scoring 1:23 into the first to end a 12-game goal drought. Gourde tied it during a power play with 1:03 left in the period.
Tampa Bay’s league-best power-play unit has a goal in nine straight games, one away from tying the franchise record.
Cedric Paquette appeared to put Tampa Bay up 2-1 12 minutes into the second but the goal was disallowed after a video review prompted by Winnipeg challenge determined that Chris Kunitz interfered with Hellebuyck.
Paquette has not scored a goal in his last 32 games.
Jets D Dustin Byfuglien left with an injury. Teammate Tyler Myers missed part of the second after being struck on the ankle area by the puck but ended up playing 25 minutes. … Sergachev has seven goals and 20 points in 29 games. … Jets G Steve Mason (concussion) took part in the morning skate. … Lightning D Jake Dotchin returned after sitting out eight consecutive games with an undisclosed injury. … Jets RW Blake Wheeler got his 30th assist on Connors’ goal. He has eight assists and 10 points during a five-game point streak.
Jets: Host Vancouver on Monday night.
Lightning: Start a four-game trip Tuesday night at St. Louis.
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