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Paul scores late winner as Lightning beat Golden Knights

Nick Paul Tampa Bay Lightning Nick Paul - The Canadian Press

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.

Jiri Patera, playing in his third game this season and fifth overall, made 31 saves filling in for the injured Adin Hill (lower body) and Logan Thompson (upper body).

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.