Paul scores late winner as Lightning beat Golden Knights
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Nicholas Paul scored the winning goal with 1:13 left in the third period and added two assists as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the injury-impacted and league-best Vegas Golden Knights 5-4 on Thursday night.
Paul put home a rebound for his second straight three-point game.
“It was big game,” Paul said. “I think it was just a lot of resilience from us.”
Tampa Bay right wing and NHL points leader Nikita Kucherov had a goal and two assists. Brayden Point had two goals and an assist, and Alex Barré-Boulet also scored for the Lightning. Andrei Vasilevskiy turned aside 30 shots.
The defending Stanley Cup champions, coming off a 6-3 loss at Carolina on Tuesday, got two goals from Jonathan Marchessault. Ivan Barbashev and Paul Cotter had the other goals, while Jack Eichel extended his franchise-record point streak to 12 games with two assists.
“It's tough to swallow knowing that you did a lot of good things in the third to give yourself a chance to win," Eichel said. “It's tough to find positives when you don't get any points here.”
Eichel had a great scoring chance stopped by Vasilevskiy with three seconds left. The puck got behind the goalie, who dove on it to keep out of the net.
Marchessault got Vegas within 4-3 with an early third-period power-play goal after Kucherov received an unsportsmanlike penalty. Kucherov thought a penalty should have been called on his breakaway and was sent off after yelling at a referee.
“I was standing right besides him when the ref called the penalty,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “It was an uncharacteristic call for a referee. It struck a chord for some reason. I wasn't putting anything on Kuch at all.”
Kucherov said “like four words,” Cooper added. “None of them was profanity. It was something that probably gets said a thousand times in game.”
Cotter tied it four minutes later.
The Lightning went up 4-2 after scoring three times in a 2:55 stretch late in the second. Kucherov had a 5-on-3 goal and assisted on Point's power-play goal 33 seconds later. Kucherov set up another Point goal to end the surge.
Kucherov now has 57 points.
Marchessault and Barbashev had first-period goals.
Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman had three assists.
Tampa Bay defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, who took a shot off the back of his left foot Tuesday, didn’t play. Cooper is hopeful that Sergachev will only miss a game or two.
Golden Knights: Continue a road trip Saturday night at Florida.
Lightning: Play at Washington on Saturday night.
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL