Nikita Kucherov’s three-point effort helps Lightning past Islanders

Nikita Kucherov scored and added two assists, Victor Hedman notched three helpers, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-2 win against the New York Islanders.

NEW YORK (AP) — Nikita Kucherov had a goal and two assists and the Tampa Bay Lightning snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday.

Kucherov leads the NHL with 98 points (37 goals and 61 assists).

Nicholas Paul, Brayden Point and Luke Glendening also scored for the Lightning. Victor Hedman had two assists and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves as Tampa Bay opened a three-game trip in the Northeast that includes stops in New Jersey and Philadelphia.

“We are a pretty proud team,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “We lost three straight at home which rarely happens to us. Pretty determined group to try and make the playoffs here and they showed it.”

Anders Lee and Brock Nelson scored for the Islanders, who lost for the fifth time in six games. Defenseman Noah Dobson added two assists. Ilya Sorokin finished with 18 saves.

New York is 4-5-3 since Patrick Roy took over behind the bench, replacing coach Lane Lambert on Jan. 20.

Kucherov extended the Lightning lead to two goals, scoring his team-best 37th at 5:34 of the opening period.

“We got to be smart, we got to work hard and we got to do it together, Islanders forward Kyle Palmieri said. ”It can’t just be one line or four, five guys, we all got to pull on the rope in the same direction.”

Just 1:22 earlier, Paul opened the scoring for Tampa Bay. Paul’s 16th of the season came moments after a Lightning power play expired early in the first period. Sorokin handled a shot by Brando Hagel from the circle, but Paul scored on the rebound.

Point scored his 29th of the season with a man advantage, capitalizing on the Islanders’ league-worst penalty kill five minutes into the middle frame.

“It kind of shows us how we need to play to win games,” Point said. “I thought our compete level was a lot higher. Really having an attention to detail in the D-zone was huge for us. Not giving them easy looks.”

Lee scored at 13:44 of the third period to spoil Vasilevksiy’s shutout bid, and Nelson scored on the power play, pulling the Islanders within a goal at 17:25. Roy elected to pull Sorokin in favor of the extra attacker and New York capitalized on the 6-on-4 advantage.

Hedman and Cooper were visibly upset at the delay-of-game penalty that led to the Islanders’ power play.

“It was tight out there, there was no room,” Roy said. “It was like a playoff hockey game. There were barely chances on both sides. … We pulled the goalie and that created some energy for our team. We scored one, we scored two and unfortunately we came up short.”

Glendening scored into an empty net in the final minute.

Islanders forward Casey Cizikas returned to the lineup after a one-game absence and defenseman Scott Mayfield did not play due to a lower-body injury.


Lightning: At New Jersey on Sunday.

Islanders: At Dallas Stars on Monday.

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