January 1, 2019 / 4:10 AM / 5 months ago

Lightning edge Ducks in OT to cap near-perfect month

Brayden Point scored 35 seconds into overtime as the Tampa Bay Lightning finished the month of December without a regulation loss, earning a 2-1 victory over the host Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.

Point took a pass at the blue line from Nikita Kucherov and then deked around Ducks defenseman Brandon Montour and beat goalie John Gibson with a backhand shot inside the right post for the game-winner. It was his 23rd tally of the season.

NHL scoring leader Kucherov had a goal and an assist for his 20th multi-point game of the season for the Lightning. Tampa Bay improved to 14-0-1 — including 13-0-1 in December — since losing to the Ducks 3-1 on Nov. 27 in Tampa.

Point also had an assist.

Andrei Vasilevskiy finished with 35 saves in picking up his 100th career victory in 175 games.

Nick Ritchie scored the lone goal for Anaheim, which lost its sixth straight game (0-4-2). Gibson stopped 33 shots for the Ducks, who snapped a streak of nine games in which Tampa Bay scored four or more goals each time.

Kucherov started the scoring with his 19th goal of the season at 6:06 of the first period. He one-timed a backhand crossing pass from Erik Cernak from the bottom of the right circle past Gibson’s glove side to extend his goal-scoring streak to four games.

Ritchie tied it at 17:08 of the first period, sliding a crossing pass from Ondrej Kase past Vasilevskiy’s left skate for his fifth goal of the season.

It was dueling goaltenders after that Vasilevskiy and Gibson both trading Grade A saves, including five by Gibson on Steven Stamkos alone, sending the contest into overtime to set up Point’s heroics.

Kucherov and Stamkos amassed a total of 51 points in December, becoming the first set of teammates to combine for 50 or more points in any calendar month since Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux were one of four pairs of teammates to do so in March 2001.

The Lightning became just the eighth team in the past 10 years to finish a month without a regulation loss.

—Field Level Media

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