TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Nikita Kucherov helped the Tampa Bay Lightning quickly bounce back from a rare shutout loss.
Kucherov scored twice to lead the Lightning to a 3-1 victory against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday. Tampa Bay extended its lead to four points over Boston for the top overall spot in the Eastern Conference less than 24 hours after a shutout loss at home to the Bruins.
“We weren’t sitting in here pouting,” said Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, who finished with two assists. “We thought we had a decent effort (against Boston) and we knew we wanted to improve on it.”
Kucherov’s fourth multi-goal game of the season extended his lead to four points in the race for the Art Ross Trophy over Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, who was held off the scoresheet. McDavid scored four goals against Tampa Bay earlier this season.
“We tried to stay on top of him, have a guy back on him, not give him too much room,” said Tampa Bay center Brayden Point, who drew the defensive assignment against McDavid. “In the first period he had a pretty good chance kind of out of nothing just by skating around us. After that we did a pretty good job of just staying on top of him.”
Victor Hedman also scored for the Lightning and Stamkos added two assists.
Tampa Bay’s penalty kill was a big area of improvement as Edmonton came up empty on five power-play chances, including 28 seconds of a two-man advantage with 6:35 left in the third period. Despite 14 shots in total on the power play, nine during three successive chances in the third, the Oilers failed to convert with the man advantage.
“We talk a lot about the chances, the shots, the looks we had but it’s still got to get a goal,” Edmonton head coach Todd McLellan said. “That’s been the tale of the tape on the power play. We had (14) shots on goal and a number of missed attempts or opportunities.”
Ty Rattie scored for Edmonton and Al Montoya finished with 37 saves.
Louis Domingue, making his eighth start with Tampa Bay since being acquired from Arizona, finished with 29 saves and recovered from allowing a fluke goal 14 seconds in to the game after he fumbled the puck behind the net that Rattie collected and banked off the Lighting goaltender.
“There are days when you give up a goal like that and it’s going to be harder,” Domingue said. “But I washed it away right away. It was one of those things, the guys are coming in tapping your pads. It was just a bad break. You can’t do anything about it.”
Hedman pulled Tampa Bay even at 15:12 of the first period. Kucherov put the Lightning in front on the power play 2:24 in to the game and provided the insurance goals 11:34 in to the third.
NOTES: Lightning RW Ryan Callahan appeared in his 700th career game, 250th with Tampa Bay. Callahan played his first 450 games with the New York Rangers. . Edmonton D Kris Russell missed his second consecutive game after blocking a shot against San Jose on Wednesday. . Tampa Bay allowed five power play goals in the previous three games. . Lightning head coach Jon Cooper moved two victories behind John Tortorella for the most in franchise history. . McDavid had points in eight of his previous nine games, six of those multi-point games.
Lightning: Host Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday
Oilers: at Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday