Nikita Kucherov continued his torrid scoring pace with his second five-point game this season as the Tampa Bay Lightning won their sixth straight, producing a 5-1 victory over the host Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday. The NHL's scoring leader with 99 points, Kucherov scored two goals and added assists on all three goals by his teammates. He has collected 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in his past five games.
Brayden Point scored twice in the first 46 seconds of the third period -- once on the power play -- and had an assist, and Steven Stamkos chipped in with a power-play goal. Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who notched consecutive shutouts against the Dallas Stars and the Montreal Canadiens in his previous two starts, made 39 saves. He has stopped 100 of 103 shots in three wins over the Blue Jackets this season.
Tampa Bay, which is 8-0-2 in February, swept the three-game season series and outscored Columbus 17-3. Lukas Sedlak scored for Columbus with 1:45 remaining in the game, and backup goalie Joonas Korpisalo stopped 15 shots in his first start since Feb. 2.
Kucherov, the NHL's First Star of the Week last week, picked up from there Monday in the first period despite his club being outshot 20-6. Mikhail Sergachev's long pass from the defensive end set up Kucherov's first goal. The defenseman's pass sparked a two-on-one break led by Yanni Gourde, who deposited a pass that Kucherov roofed in.
The Russian winger added his second goal on a breakaway at 14:24 of the first period for a 2-0 lead. He raced in unassisted and backhanded a shot for his 29th marker and fifth consecutive multi-point game. Both teams lost defensemen to injuries in the period -- Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman and Columbus' Ryan Murray (upper body), who had his first career three-point game Saturday in a 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Neither returned to the game.
The Lightning's top-ranked power play unit produced on Stamkos' tally at 19:31 of the second period. The goal came four seconds into a five-on-three -- Tampa Bay's eighth marker up two men -- after Josh Anderson went off for goalie interference and the Blue Jackets were nailed for too many men on the ice. Point tallied twice, bringing his goal total to a club-best 35, in the third period's first minute for the 5-0 lead, and Sedlak scored late to break up Vasilevskiy's shutout bid.
--Field Level Media