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Mar 20, 2024 1:10 am

Nikita Kucherov’s 4-point night leads Lightning past Knights

Lightning, Golden Knights

Nikita Kucherov moved into the NHL scoring lead with a goal and three assists and Brayden Point scored two goals in the third period to lead Tampa Bay to its fourth straight win, 5-3, over Vegas on Tuesday night in Las Vegas.

It marked the seventh time this season that Kucherov, who moved past Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon (117) and into first place with 118 points, scored at least four points in a game.

Anthony Cirelli and Anthony Duclair also scored for the Lightning (37-25-6, 80 points), who won for the fifth time in their last six games. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 24 saves to win his fourth straight start.

Jonathan Marchessault, Brett Howden and Ben Hutton scored goals and Keegan Kolesar had two assists for Vegas (36-25-7, 79 points). Adin Hill finished with 16 saves for the Golden Knights, who saw their lead for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference shrink to three points over Minnesota, which won 4-0 at Anaheim.

Vegas needed just 74 seconds to jump out to a 1-0 lead. Marchessault, who was playing his 500th game in a Golden Knights uniform, finished a 3-on-1 rush with Jack Eichel and Shea Theodore by tapping in Theodore’s crossing pass into an open right side of the net. It was Marchessault’s team-leading 38th goal.

Cirelli tied it at the seven-minute mark with a short-handed goal. He finished a give-and-go with Brandon Hagel on a 2-on-0 break by roofing a shot from the right side of the net for his 15th goal.

Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead midway through the period when Duclair chipped in Kucherov’s pass into the right side of the net for his 19th goal and third in four games with the Lightning.

The Golden Knights tied it, 2-2, at the 16:52 mark of the second period when Howden, at the end of a 2-on-1 break with Kolesar, fired a wrist shot past a sliding Darren Raddysh. It was Howden’s sixth goal and first in 15 games.

Point put Tampa Bay back in front at the 4:52 mark of the third period with a power-play goal, snapping a shot from the bottom of the left circle that fluttered past Hill’s glove side.

Hutton tied it, 3-3, midway through the period with a wrist shot from the high slot through heavy traffic and past Vasilevskiy’s glove side for his second goal. The first came Nov. 28 at Edmonton.

Less than four minutes later, Point made it 4-3 with a wrist shot from the bottom of the left circle under Hill’s left pad for his 38th goal and ninth in 10 career games against Vegas.

The Golden Knights pulled Hill with 1:30 to go for an extra attacker, and Kucherov sealed the win with an empty-netter with 1:09 remaining.

–Field Level Media

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