TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — 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."
NOTES: The Lightning had not given up a power-play goal since Jan. 4 when Brown scored in the third period. They killed off 20 consecutive power plays during the streak. ... Quick was shaken up briefly when a shot off the stick of Stamkos appeared to strike him in the neck. The Kings goalie immediately fell to the ice and play was stopped. ... Vasilevskiy has won nine consecutive starts, tied for the second-longest of his career. He also had a nine-game streak from Oct. 9-30, 2017, and won 10 in a row from Feb. 9-March 5, 2019. ... The Kings have lost seven straight to the Lightning. The teams meet again in Los Angeles on Jan. 29, with Tampa Bay looking to sweep the two-game season series for the fourth year in a row.
Kings: At Florida on Thursday night.
Lightning: At Minnesota for the first of two road games leading into bye week.
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