EditorsNote: rewords fifth and eighth grafs; fixes “Vasilevskiy” in last graf
Nikita Kucherov recorded a goal and two assists, leading the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-3 victory over the visiting New Jersey Devils in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon.
The Lightning own a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, which continues Monday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Kucherov recorded his seventh career three-point playoff game. His goal was his 24th postseason tally, tying Vincent Lecavalier for the second-most in Tampa Bay’s playoff history.
Alex Killorn, who scored just twice in the last 15 regular-season games, started and ended Tampa Bay’s four-goal flurry in the second period with a pair of power-play tallies.
Brayden Point recorded a goal and assist and Tyler Johnson added a goal as Tampa Bay scored five goals in a playoff game for the 17th time in team history.
Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 41 saves. He made 18 saves in the third, including glove saves on John Moore, Will Butcher and Sami Vatanen in the final minute after the Devils pulled goaltender Cory Schneider.
Nico Hischier, Vatanen and Blake Coleman scored for New Jersey, which allowed five goals in a postseason game for the 28th time in team history.
Keith Kinkaid allowed five goals on 15 shots before being replaced. Schneider entered and stopped 10 shots in his first postseason appearance since Game 4 of the 2013 Western Conference quarterfinals when he was with the Vancouver Canucks.
Point netted his first career playoff goal with 7:45 remaining in the first by corralling the bouncing puck in the low slot and lifting a shot over Kinkaid as defenseman Andy Greene was late to defend the play.
Hischier tied it with 6:22 left in the first with a wrist shot from the left side of the low slot that sailed over Vasilevskiy’s right shoulder.
Tampa Bay regained the lead with 16:46 left in the second due to some deft passing.
J.T. Miller won a faceoff from Travis Zajac and passed to Steven Stamkos. Stamkos’ drive went wide but caromed to Kucherov, who made a slick pass to Killorn, who simply redirected it under Kinkaid’s pads for his 17th career postseason goal.
Tampa Bay took a 3-1 lead a little over a minute later when Johnson redirected Ryan McDonagh’s point shot over Kinkaid’s glove. The lead reached 4-1 at 6:01 of the second when Kucherov’s pass intended for Stamkos went off Vatanen’s skate.
Killorn made it 5-1 with 6:48 left in the middle period by redirecting Kucherov’s cross-ice pass as Kinkaid lost his stick.
The Devils inched closer when Vatanen scored on a wrist shot late in the second period, and Coleman scored on a slap shot with about eight minutes left in the third.
The Devils appeared to make it a one-goal game when Wood attempted to jam in the puck off a scramble with 3:15 remaining. Vasilevskiy made the save, and the initial ruling was upheld following a review by officials in Toronto.
—Field Level Media