Lightning beat Kings 5-2 for 12th straight home win
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Brayden Point had a goal and an assist, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-2 on Saturday night for a franchise-record 12th consecutive home win.
Victor Hedman, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Corey Perry and Ross Colton also scored for Tampa Bay, which has won three in a row overall. Rookie defenseman Nick Perbix had three assists, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 26 saves.
The Lightning surpassed the franchise mark of 11 straight home wins set in 2019-20 and defeated the Kings for the seventh straight time at Amalie Arena. The Lightning haven’t lost at home since Dec. 6 against Detroit.
“We get so motivated to play at home,” Colton said after the Lightning improved to 20-4-1 at Amalie Arena. “We have great fans and a great atmosphere."
Tampa Bay swept a three-game homestand against Wild, Bruins and Kings to enter the All-Star break on an upswing.
“We played three tough teams — big, strong, fast playoff teams — and our guys handled it well,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “The only question was after the big win against the Bruins and the break coming up, how we would handle it. We did, and we got the points we needed. It makes for a better break.”
Los Angeles had won three in a row. Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Phillip Danault scored for the Kings, and Jonathan Quick made 20 saves.
“We haven’t been able to put a game together for Quickie,” Kings captain Anze Kopitar. “He’s been very solid back there. It’s frustrating.”
Tampa Bay went ahead to stay with two goals in a 79-second span in the first period.
Point scored at 5:02 on a quick shot from Quick’s doorstep. Nikita Kucherov set up Point’s 29th goal when he picked up a bad pass behind the net and made a quick centering feed.
Bellemare made it 2-0 at 6:21 with a wrist shot from the high slot after a giveaway by Kings defenseman Sean Durzi.
“Communication in the (defensive) zone, giving up a lot of chances down the pipe. We had to take away chances through the middle, and we didn’t at the start,” Kings forward Al Iafallo said. “When you don’t communicate, it leads to individual (mistakes). As a whole, we didn’t get it done defensively.”
The Kings got one back at 10:12 when Anderson-Dolan’s shot from the top of the left circle hit Vasilevskiy’s glove and snuck between his pads. But Perry made it 3-1 at 15:57, beating Quick from the lower left circle.
Colton scored on a rebound of Perbix’s shot at 15:20 of the second.
“He was rewarded tonight,” Cooper said of Perbix, a sixth-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. “He put pucks on the net in the right spot. His game keeps improving.”
Danault got credit for his 14th at 19:08 when his pass from the right corner was deflected into the net by Lightning defenseman Ian Cole.
The Lightning went more than 16 minutes without a shot in the third period before Hedman’s one-timer from the left point beat Quick.
Steven Stamkos had an assist on Hedman’s goal to extend his point streak to 11 games. ... Kucherov’s assist was his league-leading 53rd. He has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) during a six-game point streak. ... The Lightning are 20-0-0 when leading after the first period.
Perry, who spent most of his career with the Anaheim Ducks, has 25 career goals against his longtime Southern California rival, including 11 against Quick. … The Kings’ last win at Amalie Arena was a 4-2 victory on Feb. 7, 2015.
Kings: Complete a six-game trip at Carolina on Tuesday.
Lightning: Off until they visit Florida on Feb. 6.
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John Kreiser, The Associated Press