Stamkos lifts Light­ning over Kings

Antelope Valley Press - - SPORTS - By FRED GOODALL

TAMPA, Fla. — With a blis­ter­ing shot that glanced off the goalie’s shoul­der and into the net, Nikita Kucherov saved the night for the Tampa Bay Light­ning.

The reign­ing NHL MVP and scor­ing cham­pion scored with a lit­tle over a minute left in reg­u­la­tion and Steven Stamkos de­liv­ered the game-de­cid­ing goal in a shootout to com­plete a 4-3 come-from-be­hind vic­tory over the Los An­ge­les Kings on Tues­day night,

“Big time shot. It’s one of those things where you’re star­ing zero points in the face and you end up with two. You’ve got to take that and run,” Light­ning coach Jon Cooper said. “Even though I thought we de­served points in this game, you’re odds aren’t as high when you’re down a goal with a minute left.”

Bray­den Point also beat Kings goalie Jonathan Quick in the shootout, help­ing the

Light­ning re­bound from a loss to New Jersey that stopped Tampa Bay’s fran­chise record-ty­ing 10-game win­ning streak on Sun­day.

Stamkos and Alex Kil­lorn also scored in reg­u­la­tion for the Light­ning, who over­came deficits of 2-0 and 3-2.

Kucherov’s 18th goal of the sea­son, com­ing on a one-timer off a face­off won by team­mate An­thony Cirelli, made it 3-3 with 1:15 re­main­ing in reg­u­la­tion.

“I saw Cirelli on the draw and the puck was com­ing to­ward me ... that’s it,” Kucherov said. “We bounced back from a tough loss ... get­ting the win tonight.”

Quick stopped 35 of 38 shots for Los An­ge­les, which took a 3-2 lead when Dustin Brown scored on the power play at 12:00 of the third.

“There were a lot of ups and downs. (The Light­ning) are a very cre­ative, quick-at­tack­ing team. I think they got the best of us in some sit­u­a­tions, but we fought back and worked our way to a lead with a big power-play goal,” Kings coach Todd McLel­lan said. “Dis­ap­pointed at the end that we couldn’t close it out, but fairly good ef­fort.”

Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevski­y, who blanked the Ari­zona Coy­otes and Philadel­phia Flyers in his pre­vi­ous two starts, fin­ished with 38 saves.

The three-time All-Star lost a shutout streak of 150 min­utes, 13 sec­onds on Jeff Carter’s tap in at 4:18 of the open­ing pe­riod. Kyle Clif­ford’s unas­sisted goal put the Kings up 2-0 less than seven min­utes into the game.

It took the Light­ning less than five min­utes to get back in it, with Kil­lorn and Stamkos scor­ing within a span of 1:19 to make it 2-2. It re­mained that way un­til Brown put the Kings back in front with eight min­utes left.

“It’s tough blow­ing a lead there a cou­ple of times, but I think over­all you look at the game and I think we played great,” Los An­ge­les de­fense­man Sean Walker said. “There’s lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties we prob­a­bly could’ve scored there again, but give credit to them. They’ve got a great goalie.”

As­so­ci­ated Press

TOUGH SHOT Light­ning cen­ter Steven Stamkos (91) scores past Kings goal­tender Jonathan Quick (32) dur­ing a shootout on Tues­day in Tampa, Florida. The Light­ning won 4-3.

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