Point scores 2, Lightning snap skid with shutout of 'Canes
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Brayden Point had two goals and an assist and the Tampa Bay Lightning snapped a four-game losing streak by defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 4-0 Tuesday night.
“It starts with effort and emotion,” Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos said. “(This game) was a good example of getting the outcome because of the process. I thought we just played a really solid, patient, physical and in-your-face style of game and we got rewarded for it.”
Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves, including 12 in the third period, for his third shutout of the season.
“That’s the hockey that you’ve got to play at this time of the year,” Stamkos said. “We know what the recipe is. It’s just about executing.”
Stamkos added a goal and two assists as the Lightning wrapped up a four-game road stretch with a much-needed result to stay in good position to reach the playoffs. Alex Killorn scored an empty-net goal with 4:21 remaining.
“It’s about work ethic and I liked our work ethic,” Point said. “We did a good job of keeping on top of them.”
Pyotr Kochetkov made 17 saves as the Hurricanes lost for the third time in four games (1-2-1). Carolina was blanked for the third time in a 10-game stretch.
“We didn’t have a lot of spark to our game,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We didn’t play it the way we like to play it. Not enough time in their end.”
Carolina leads the Metropolitan Division by three points over the New Jersey Devils.
Tampa Bay has played in the last three Stanley Cup Finals. Coach Jon Cooper said he recognized positive elements Tuesday night.
“That’s how we’ve got to play if we want to do anything in the spring,” Cooper said.
The Lightning faced a division leader for the second game in a row, following Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Boston. Stamkos said the team is experiencing a playoff-level intensity.
“That’s good for the position that we’re in,” he said.
Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov had two assists to boost his season total to 76.
Stamkos scored 5:58 into the second period. He hung out near the net and was on the receiving end of Mikhail Sergachev’s pass, sliding the puck under Kochetkov’s pads for his 31st goal this season.
Point’s first goal came after he collected a rebound, knocking the puck off Kochetkov on a shot from behind the goal line at 14:23 of the second period.
Point pushed his goals total for the season to 47 with another score at 12:20 of the third period.
It was a quite a reversal from the Lightning’s March 5 visit, when the Hurricanes rolled to a 6-0 rout.
“It definitely turned the tables from the last time we were here,” Cooper said. “We’ve played the best two teams in the East in the last couple (games). We didn’t get any points in the Boston game, but we took some steps forward.”
The Hurricanes have gone 1 for 11 on power plays across a five-game stretch.
“We’re concerned,” Brind’Amour said. “It’s a big part of the game, so you want to get clicking. We’ve got to keep trying to find ways to make it dangerous.”
NOTES: Lightning D Ian Cole was a healthy scratch, missing a game for the first time since Oct. 15. D Haydn Fluery, a former member of the Hurricanes, was in the Tampa Bay lineup for the first time in 10 games. … Hurricanes RW Stefan Noesen didn’t return after sustaining a lower-body injury in the second period.
UP NEXT Lightning: Host Washington on Thursday.
Hurricanes: At Detroit on Thursday.
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Bob Sutton, The Associated Press