TAMPA, Fla. (AP)Andrei Vasilevskiy made 45 saves through overtime, Alex Killorn scored the winner in the sixth round of the shootout, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the New York Rangers 2-1 on Thursday night.
Tampa Bay won the shootout 2-1.
Brayden Point scored in regulation and in the shootout for the Lightning. Nikita Kucherov got his 38th assist on Point’s goal.
Igor Shesterkin stopped 39 shots in regulation and Mika Zibanejad scored for the Rangers. Shesterkin is 4-0-1 in five games against Tampa Bay.
”That was a good hockey game.” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. ”To me, you could have inserted that for any one of the playoff games last year. It was wildly entertaining. Goalies were making saves, guys were getting chances, posts were ringing at both sides of the ice.”
Tampa Bay beat the Rangers in last season’s Eastern Conference final.
”They’re a veteran team,” New York coach Gerard Gallant said of the Lightning. ”They work hard. You know what they’re going to bring every night.”
Point tied it at 1 on his 20th goal at 5:32 of the third. His shot from close range off a pass from Steven Stamkos went off Shesterkin’s pad and into the net. The center has 14 goals in the last 15 games.
Zibanejad got his ninth goal in nine games against Vasilevskiy to open the scoring from the high slot 14:25 into the game.
Vasilevskiy made a couple strong saves in overtime as Tampa Bay killed off Victor Hedman’s tripping penalty. Shesterkin stopped Stamkos’ right-circle shot late in the session.
Tampa Bay’s Brandon Hagel had a potential game-tying goal disallowed at 4:49 of the second. The left wing grabbed the puck off Shesterkin’s blocker with his glove and threw the puck toward the net. It was ruled an illegal hand pass.
Shesterkin stopped five shots by Nikita Kucherov and a low slot drive by Stamkos in the first. He rejected three more shots by Kucherov in the second period.
Stamkos hit the crossbar early in the third and remains three goals away from becoming the 47th NHL player to reach the 500 mark. The Lightning captain has gone six straight games without a goal.
Vasilevskiy turned aside breakaway shots by Vincent Trocheck and Vitali Kravtsov, and skated into the slot to clear the puck to prevent a Rangers’ short-handed 2-on-none during the opening period.
”Two elite goalies that allow their teams to stay in a lot of hockey games,” Stamkos said.
It was a rare start on consecutive games for Vasilevskiy, who beat Montreal 4-1 on Wednesday night. It was the fourth time, including playoffs, that he has appeared in back-to-back games since the 2020 playoffs.
”I felt alright until that 4 on 3 in overtime,” Vasilevskiy said. ”It was pretty tough, but our D-corps, they did a tremendous job tonight.”
Rangers LW Alexis Lafreniere, taken first overall in the 2020 draft, was scratched.
”Well, because I’m making a lineup and consistency is the word I mentioned before and yesterday a little bit,” Gallant said. ”He wants to be better, we want him to be better, and be more consistent in the game.”
Lafreniere has an eight-game goal drought.
This was Tampa Bay’s seventh third-period comeback, which ties Vegas for most in the NHL … Point has a goal in seven straight home games to equal Kucherov’s team record set in 2021-22. He has reached 20 goals in six straight seasons.
Lightning D Erik Cernak left late in the first following a check by Rangers LW Sammy Blais. It appeared their foreheads make contact.
Rangers: Play Sunday at Florida.
Lightning: Host Arizona on Saturday.
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