February 11, 2020 / 3:42 AM / 7 days ago

Kucherov scores in regulation, OT as Lightning top Jackets

Nikita Kucherov capped his two-goal night with a marker 31 seconds into overtime, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the host Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 on Monday night for their seventh consecutive win.

Feb 10, 2020; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Curtis McElhinney (35) defends the net against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Knotted after a scoreless third period, the game was decided in the three-on-three session after Brayden Point stole the puck from Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski behind the Columbus net.

Point then fed defenseman Victor Hedman in the slot, and the former Norris Trophy winner found Kucherov for the game-winner.

Kucherov extended his point streak to 11 games, during which he has 10 tallies and 10 assists. Point contributed two helpers.

Backup goalie Curtis McElhinney made 31 saves, Pat Maroon played in his 500th career game, and the Lightning improved to 19-2-1 in their past 22 contests. Team captain Steven Stamkos (lower-body injury) was scratched, and Mathieu Joseph was recalled from Syracuse of the AHL.

Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal and Elvis Merzlikins made his fifth consecutive start and recorded 28 saves for the Blue Jackets, who lost for the third time in their last 12 contests (9-1-2).

The Blue Jackets played without defenseman Seth Jones, who is out indefinitely due to an ankle ailment and was placed on injured reserve, and right winger Cam Atkinson (lower body). Center Liam Foudy, 20, was called up from the London of the Ontario Hockey League and made his NHL debut. Foudy received 10:23 of ice time.

The matchup was the first meeting between the two teams since the wild-card Blue Jackets stunned the Presidents Trophy-winning Lightning in a physical four-game sweep during the first round of last season’s playoffs.

Kucherov extended his point streak at 2:29 of the first period. Point raced around Columbus’ Gustav Nyquist and slipped a cross-ice pass over to Mikhail Sergachev, who passed it over to Kucherov for a tip-in and a 1-0 lead.

Shortly after Tampa Bay’s second power play ended early in the second, Bjorkstrand took a pass from Pierre-Luc Dubois to start a breakaway and flipped a backhander over McElhinney at 3:44 to tie the score.

—Field Level Media

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