Vasilevskiy stops 23 as surging Lightning beat Bruins

Brayden Point scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second and Nikita Kucherov iced the game with the empty netter for his league leading 124th point of the season as the Tampa Bay Lightning picked up a huge win over the Boston Bruins 3-1.

TAMPA, Fla. — Brayden Point scored his 42nd goal of the season to break a second-period tie, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 23 saves, and the surging Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Atlantic Division-leading Boston Bruins 3-1 on Wednesday night.

Tampa Bay also got goals from Mitchell Chaffee and Nikita Kucherov as the Lightning improved to 7-0-1 over their last eight games. The Lightning moved within two points of third-place Toronto in the Atlantic Division.

Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and Point both returned after missing one game with lower-body injuries. Hedman had an assist to become the fourth active defenseman to have three 70-point seasons.

Linus Ullmark stopped 28 shots, and Danton Heinen scored for the Bruins. Boston was coming off a 4-3 win Tuesday night at Florida in a matchup for the division lead.

“I didn’t think either team was really on top of their game, to be honest,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. “I think they were traveling back from the West Coast. so I don’t think they were as sharp as they’ve been. The intensity and the emotion in the game was not the same as it was for us last night.”

Point put the Lightning up 2-1 on a wraparound 6:50 into the second period. The center has 10 goals over his last seven games.

“Getting the lead for us was big tonight,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “I thought it was big for us to take advantage of a team that, you know, emptied the tank the night before and I thought we did.”

Kucherov took over the NHL points lead with 124 on an empty-net goal with 27 seconds left. The right wing has a career-high 42 goals.

“They forechecked better than we did, which I think led to more o-zone time for them,” Montgomery said. “I mean, their second goal was a real nice breakout from them but it was a poor forecheck by us.”

Vasilevskiy won his 290th game to tie Ed Giacomin for 46th place on the career list. The goalie, who missed the first 20 games this season after having surgery to address a lumbar disc herniation, said physically he feels “not good, not bad.”

“Trying to take care of myself and I will work on myself,” Vasilevskiy said. “Again, it’s a different season for me, like surgery-wise and all that stuff.”

Tampa Bay appeared to go up 3-1 on what would have given Steven Stamkos his ninth 30-goal season at 5:44 of the third, but a video review found the play was offside.

UP NEXT

Bruins: Play the fourth of a six-game trip Saturday night at Washington.

Lightning: Host the New York Islanders on Saturday night.

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