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Bolts top line shines in 7-3 win over Leafs

Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov combine for 11 points in Tampa Bay's victory in Toronto

by Jacob Lynn /

The Lightning had to wait three games to reunite Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov on the top line.

If one game is an indication, it appears to have been worth the wait.

The trio combined to record 11 points as Tampa Bay snapped a two-game losing skid with a 7-3 victory over the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Thursday night.

For the Bolts, the key was surviving a wild, back-and-forth first period.

Video: TBL@TOR: Point nets shot in front to open the scoring

After offseason hip surgery forced him to sit out the first three games of the regular season, Point wasted little time getting on the scoresheet. Just 2:28 into the first period, Point capitalized on a mad scramble in the crease after Frederik Andersen failed to control a rebound and managed to jam the puck home on the doorstep.

Andreas Johnsson and John Tavares responded with back-to-back goals to give Toronto the lead but the Lightning answered right back. Nikita Kucherov tied the game with a power play goal and Kevin Shattenkirk gave the Bolts a 3-2 lead after he deked through two Leafs defenders and scored on his backhand.

Once again, the lead wouldn't hold. Auston Matthews scored his sixth goal of the season late in the period but Steven Stamkos gave the Lightning their third lead with a power play with less than a minute remaining in the period.

Point scored the lone goal of the second period to give Tampa Bay a 5-3 lead through 40 minutes. Stationed in front of the net, Point redirected a shot from Kucherov past Andersen to give the Bolts a two-goal advantage.

A lucky bounce early in the third period gave Ondrej Palat his second goal of the year and the Lightning a 6-3 lead. From an awkward angle, Palat threw the puck toward the slot but it deflected off a Toronto defender and past Andersen.

Kucherov followed that up with his second goal of the game three minutes later. Stamkos capitalized on a turnover from Andersen and fed Kucherov who scored on a one-timer to round out the scoring.

Video: TBL@TOR: Kucherov buries puck off Stamkos' feed

Tampa Bay turned in a much better effort after being displeased with losses to Florida and Carolina over the weekend. The Bolts outshot the Leafs 33-28 and held Toronto's potent offense scoreless over the final 42 minutes of the game. Andrei Vasilevskiy was solid in net on Thursday, turning in a 25-save effort.

The Lightning resume their six-game trip on Saturday in Ottawa against the Senators.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
TBL | 2:28 Brayden Point (1) - Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov
TOR | 4:19 Andreas Johnsson (1) - Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner - PPG
TOR | 7:46 John Tavares (1) - Justin Holl, Kasperi Kapanen
TBL | 11:24 Nikita Kucherov (2) - Victor Hedman, Anthony Cirelli - PPG
TBL | 12:45 Kevin Shattenkirk (3) - Tyler Johnson
TOR | 17:56 Auston Matthews (6) - Jake Muzzin, William Nylander
TBL | 19:17 Steven Stamkos (3) - Anthony Cirelli, Brayden Point - PPG

2nd Period
TBL | 10:46 Brayden Point (2) - Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos

3rd Period
TBL | 3:58 Ondrej Palat (2) - Anthony Cirelli, Mikhail Sergachev
TBL | 6:57 Nikita Kucherov (3) - Steven Stamkos

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