Martinez scores in OT, Golden Knights edge Lightning 4-3
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Alex Martinez scored 3:09 into overtime to give the Vegas Golden Knights a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
Jack Eichel’s shot from the slot was stopped by Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, but the puck slipped through his pads and sat in the crease as Martinez dove and poked it into the open net for the win for the Pacific Division-leading Golden Knights.
“It’s that time of the year where every point is huge,” Vegas goalie Jonathan Quick said. “It’s a great team over there and we battled hard for those two points.”
William Karlsson, Chandler Stephenson and Keegan Kolesar scored for Vegas. Quick made 34 saves as the Golden Knights defeated the Lightning for the seventh time in 10 games since Vegas entered the NHL for the 2017-18 season. Quick earned his second victory in as many starts since Vegas acquired him from the Columbus on March 3, one day after the Blue Jackets got him in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings.
“With some of the injuries, it presented an opportunity for me to come here,” said Quick, who helped the Kings win the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014. “Like I said when I first came here, if they need me in the net, I’ll be in the net.”
Brayden Point scored twice and Nikita Kucherov added a goal and two assists for Tampa Bay. Vasilevskiy finished with 17 saves as the Lightning slipped to 1-4-2 in their last seven games.
Despite the loss, Point said the Lightning did a lot of things right, especially at even strength.
“Better structure, limiting their chances,” he said. “Obviously the shortie hurt, but I thought our 5-on-5 game, for the most part, was good. We were skating, we were competing. That’s what we need right now to work our way out of a tough stretch.”
The Lightning trailed 3-1 before a scrum at 12:16 of the third period resulted in 11 minor penalties and 10 misconducts, five to each team. Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper thought that even though his team got the extra minor and had to kill off a power play, his team got a jolt from the fireworks.
“You haven’t seen that picture of gloves and sticks on the ice like that in a long time,” Cooper said. “It’s a different era of hockey. This was back to the 1980s. But even though we came out of it short, I thought the melee gave us a boost out of it.”
The Lightning applied pressure and tied the game by scoring twice after pulling Vasilevskiy for an extra attacker. Kucherov made it a one-goal game with 2:07 remaining and then set up Point’s second of the game with 28 seconds left to force the extra period.
Vegas broke a 1-all tie when Karlsson scored short-handed 2:27 into the third period, then made it 3-1 on Stephenson’s power-play goal at 5:39.
“It was a nice win and a very tough game,” Karlsson said. “To come away with two points is a good feeling.”
The Golden Knights got off to a fast start, taking a 1-0 lead 27 seconds into the game. A bad Tampa Bay line change led to a 2-on-1 break that ended with Kolesar’s easy tap-in of Teddy Blueger’s pass.
Point tied the game and reached the 40-goal mark for the second time in his career at 4:28 when he grabbed the rebound of Kucherov’s shot and tucked it behind Quick from a bad angle. His second goal was his 41st, matching his career high in 2018-19.
“When we were in our own zone, we were quick on it,” Cooper said. “We were winning battles. It’s unfortunate we didn’t get two points.”
Tampa Bay allowed its 11th short-handed goal, tying the Lightning with the Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings for the most in the NHL.
The Golden Knights have won four of their five visits to Amalie Arena.
Golden Knights: At Carolina on Saturday.
Lightning: Host Chicago on Saturday.
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John Kreiser, The Associated Press