Streaking Lightning sweep past faltering Devils
Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point continued their sizzling play as the Lightning cruised to another lopsided win over New Jersey, beating the Devils 5-1 in Newark, N.J., on Monday.
Kucherov recorded a goal and three assists to extend his point streak to 10 games, and Point had a goal and two assists for the Lightning, who won their third straight overall and swept the three-game season series against the Devils.
In their three wins over New Jersey, the Lightning outscored the last-place Metropolitan Division team 18-6.
Kucherov moved out of a thirdplace tie with Toronto’s Mitchell Marner in the scoring race. His four points gave him 42, moving him closer to Colorado Avalanche teammates Mikko Rantanen (45) and Nathan MacKinnon (43).
The high-scoring Russian has 24 points in the 10-game streak – five goals and 19 assists. Point had a whopping 11 points in the three wins over New Jersey.
Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson, Yanni Gourde and Steven Stamkos also scored goals. Louis Domingue won for the 11th time and started his 11th straight contest - the longest goalie-start streak in the NHL this season -and posted 26 saves.
Defenseman Egor Yakovlev scored his first NHL goal for the Devils, who have lost six straight. Keith Kinkaid stopped 16 shots in two periods in goal, and Cory Schneider made five saves in relief during the third period.
Kucherov zipped in his 12th goal at 13:31 of the first period. Using New Jersey defenseman Sami Vatanen as a screen, the right winger fired a shot from near the left circle that beat Kinkaid on the glove side for a 1-0 lead.
On the power play as the period was winding down, Kucherov fed a pass from the right circle to Point, who lifted a shot from the slot with 26 seconds left in the period for his 20th goal – nine of them on the man advantage.
Johnson deflected in a long shot by McDonagh for his 11th goal at 8:20 of the second period for a 3-0 lead. Shortly after Yakovlev’s goal at 11:26, Gourde chipped in a clever backhand pass from Stamkos for his 10th marker and a 4-1 lead.
Stamkos scored his ninth goal of the season on the power play 20 seconds into the third period on Kucherov’s third assist, and the Lightning kept the Devils scoreless down the stretch en route for the win.
RINNE, PREDATORS HOLD OFF SABRES
Pekka Rinne made 21 saves, including five in the final 90 seconds, to lead the Nashville Predators to a 2-1 victory over the visiting Buffalo Sabres on Monday night.
Kevin Fiala and Ryan Ellis scored goals for the Predators, who were playing their 13th game over a 24day span and were without the services of Filip Forsberg (broken hand), P.K. Subban (upper body), Viktor Arvidsson (broken thumb) and Kyle Turris (undisclosed).
Rinne was playing in his 10th consecutive game and starting his fifth straight contest. It is Rinne’s longest streak since playing in 27 games in a row from Feb. 5 to April 9, 2015.
Sam Reinhart scored his seventh goal of the season for Buffalo, which took its third straight loss after winning 10 games in a row. Carter Hutton had 22 saves for the Sabres.
Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov (left) skates in on Damon Severson of the New Jersey Devils during the first period at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.